THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED "TOP SECRET," AND IS FOR AGENCY USE ONLY. ANY UNAUTHORIZED COPYING OR DISSEMINATION OF THIS REPORT IN ANY WAY WILL BE HANDLED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE.
These are the facts as we know them at this point in time. The event began with the release of the Atlantis worm, as it's now known, which suddenly appeared on the computers of a carefully-selected group of people, people of interest to the agency. At first it was thought the Internet was used to spread the worm, a worm designed specifically to deliver the invitations to the grand opening of the Atlantis Resort on Dead Man's Cay. But some of the infected computers weren't hooked up to the Internet. Another oddity was that there were several operating systems, not just Windows, which the computers were using at the time they were infected. The only thing they had in common was that they were all plugged in to community power lines at the time, and they were the personal computers, save one, of the selected individuals to whom the invitations were addressed. Somehow this worm had been spread over the power lines using unknown but often-speculated-on technology and software. One of the infected computers that was offline was on a secure floor in the middle of the agency's offices, which event caused considerable alarm among the agents and their superiors. The fact that it was addressed to a specific agent at work at that computer at the time was the most alarming fact of all.
It first appeared as a pop-up window on any program the addressee was running, where it proceeded to save and close any work in progress. Then the whole screen would go black, followed by white letters which appeared and asked this question:
"If you could go to the most interesting, stimulating and technologically-advanced resort you have ever been to in the world, with lots of events planned specifically for and by you, would you go? Oh, and one more thing, it's an all-expenses-paid mystery trip."
"If you accept it, you will be given plane tickets to Miami and once there you will be contacted and given further travel instructions. All your travel will be by public carrier, and your happiness, satisfaction and safety will be of our most important concern during your trip and your stay at the Atlantis Resort. Press the yes or no button to respond."
If you tried to delete it, a window would come up and tell you that only a "yes" or "no" response would make the invitation screen go away. If you tried to reboot or turn your machine off manually, the same screen would come up again following reboot. The only way to get it off your computer was to answer the question.
If you said "no," it instantly went away without leaving a trace anywhere on your computer, no matter how sophisticated your search was.
If you accepted it, the screen turned to an animated presentation of the Atlantis Resort on Dead Man's Cay. Atlantis was shaped somewhat like a giant Inca pyramid with a huge skylight on the pinnacle, and four sections that came together with large windows running down the length of the edges, getting larger as they went down to the base. Each corner of the pyramid was resting on one of the four curved islets that made up the cay, which agency satellite photos showed were actually sections of an old volcano sticking a few feet out of the Caribbean. The last time the agency took photos of the cay was over two years ago, just before 9/11, and it was barren then. To say the agency analysts were surprised to see the Atlantis suddenly sitting on the cay was an understatement. The agency didn't even know that the Jamaican government had granted building permits for it. We had been too busy trying to stop Islamic religious terrorism and investigating 'persons of interest,' to notice the activity on the cay these last two years.
There had been rumors about the wealthy reclusive humanitarian Robert Heliopolis and his corporation buying Dead Man's Cay to turn it into a resort. Its construction would give an economic boost to Jamaica by using Jamaican aluminum and local woods as the major components of the structure, with local contractors supplying the labor. But the agency was focused on the aforementioned problems and unable to look into the mater any further at that time. Obviously Mr. Heliopolis had achieved his goal, but just in case Atlantis was part of some plot from Osama bin Laden and Al Quaeda, the agency did a quick check on the corporation that had built the resort, and then sent in their best man in to investigate. He was also sent because he was the one who received the invitation here at the agency. His identity must be concealed, so he will be referred to as agent Smith in this report where noted.
The invitations came complete with the full brochure, a copy of which is included, below, in this report, and round trip ticket confirmation from the Pan Am Travel Agency to Jamaica, first class.
It turned out that the CEO of Atlantis, Robert Heliopolis, had invited an eclectic mix of social activists, high tech entrepreneurs, and agent Smith, to the grand opening of his new property. Heliopolis said he wanted to use the opening to stimulate a dialog among the participants, a dialog that would put a positive focus on the role of the high-tech industry in helping to reform the economic landscape worldwide. The way the invitations were delivered sure got everybody's attention, and the trip was free, so the response from the recipients was almost one hundred percent "yes" to go. Agent Smith opined that the invitation reminded him of a quote from that sage philosopher Sheryl Crow, who once said, "I've never been there, but the brochure sure looks nice."
The brochure started with a history of the Cay:
For an account to bring you up to speed on the Atlantis Resort, lets start with the discovery (actually the rediscovery) of Dead Man's Cay. The islands of the cay are about two hundred fifty miles due west of the town of Negril, which is on the western tip of the island of Jamaica. The US navy rediscovered the cay in 1942 while searching the area for a damaged Nazi sub they had been following. They found the sub hiding in the bay of the cay and sunk it, killing all on board, in a huge blast. While searching the four, crescent-shaped islets that surrounded the bay, they found the bones of a shipwrecked crew in the remains of what appeared to be a pirate ship run aground on a large circular sandbar in the center of the bay, hence the name Dead Man's Cay. The pirates were probably looking for the island with the fabled lost city of gold rumored to be out in the Caribbean somewhere. The island is the tip of a precipitous volcanic cone that came up out of the ocean floor from about a mile down. As it came out of the sea for only a few feet, it was difficult to see from a distance. It is also out of the usual shipping channels, so it had gone unnoticed for a couple of hundred years until the Navy found it again.
The islands looked like a big bubble of soft lava had formed and then slowly sank in the center while still molten. From the air it looked kind of like the rim of a mammoth cooking-pot sticking out of the sea, broken into four equal pieces and widely separated, with a small bowl upside down in the middle. The cay was the perfect shape for the planned Atlantis Resort, and the volcano was massive enough to support it.
As for the resort structure itself, it is an engineering marvel. A synthesis of cruise shipbuilding, oil-platform construction, and luxury hotels, the resort was discreetly built in Jamaica, using the islands aluminum alloys and other local building materials and labor. The resort was designed to be towed into place in four pieces, assembled on site, and anchored in the bay, forming an island of luxury in the middle of the Caribbean.
Atlantis has the best of both worlds: all the amenities of the finest cruise ships and the stability of a land-based hotel. Its construction costs were well over a billion dollars, all privately financed by the Dead Man's Cay Corporation, an employee-owned enterprise. It is a state-of-the-art vacation destination with all the usual fare found on the best cruise lines and first class hotels around the world.
It also comes with some unique features found nowhere else. For instance, there are the interactive theaters, which allow the viewers to don a cybersuit and digitally project themselves into the movie they are watching, becoming characters themselves and interacting with the other characters in the film. You can follow the script, or use your own to show the film as you see it. And even if you wish to just view the film, it is projected in a holographic format so you see it as it was filmed, with real depth. This is something that exists nowhere else on earth, and it's a major draw for the Atlantis Resort.
The water sports are without peer in the Caribbean, with the lush palm beaches of fine black volcanic sand for sunning and swimming. There is also sailing, boating and jet skis, as well as snorkeling and diving on the shipwrecks in the bay. Or one can even enjoy swimming with the fish in this huge partially-covered cay aquarium. (We keep the big sharks out!)
Atlantis was designed as a small city with the exterior made to resemble an ancient, stepped, Incan pyramid. The outside pattern is reproduced on the inside, giving it a spaciously-constructed, stepped, pyramid-shaped interior. On the exterior of the pyramid faces are giant steps with one-thousand first-class penthouses. Each level is named like a street on the inside and outside walkways. The walkways are twenty feet wide and are uninterrupted around the inside and outside of the individual levels, giving our guests nice strolling avenues and uninterrupted views of the sea and the interior of Atlantis. Each penthouse has a street address and is two-thousand square feet on the bottom section, graduating to one thousand square feet at the top. Each penthouse comes with a nice big deck and a large hot tub, all of which can be covered by a sliding-glass storm-shield should the weather require it. The privacy of each deck is assured with rising walls that can come up out of the railings that surrounded them, if desired.
The interior of Atlantis is much like what you see in today's best cruise ships. The resort has one large skylight on the top, and large windows that run the length of the edges of the resort, top to bottom, separating the sections and providing more light that further illuminates the ten-acre interior greenhouse park and arboretum known as "The Oasis." Within the bottom deck of the interior there are shops and restaurants overlooking The Oasis, and a large fresh-water swimming pool in the center. So even if the weather outside is frightful, it's always delightful inside. Won't you come join us for the adventure of a lifetime at the Atlantis Resort and Spa? It will be a time you will never forget, I guarantee it. Yours very truly, Bob Heliopolis, your host, captain and CEO of the Atlantis Resort, Ltd.
And so ended the brochure.
The agency thought it intriguing just whom Mr. Heliopolis had invited to this grand opening, an eclectic mix of high tech entrepreneurs and social activists primarily from the moderate left and right of the political spectrum--and agent Smith.
The travel arrangements were first class, as advertised, and included a ride on the new sea-going super catamaran, the MS Fast Cat, to the resort. Once in place in Atlantis, agent Smith was able to penetrate Mr. Heliopolis's security, and gain complete access to his quarters at 420 Height-Asbury Street, on the top deck. Once inside, he was able to hack into Mr. Heliopolis's personal and command computers, and copy the contents to a portable hard drive. There was nothing remarkable or really informative on his computers or in his living quarters, which were no more luxurious than the average bedroom in one of the resort's own master penthouses. He did have his own deck and hot tub, as did the rest of the staff.
Agent Smith also discovered, on the last day, that he had been under surveillance himself for an unknown time while he was there. He had finally been able to tap into the internal video security systems, that last day, and discovered that his room was under surveillance. As agent Smith had carefully searched his room each night, he was chagrined at the discovery he had been watched, and the knowledge gave him a different perspective on his mission there. He was unable to gain any relevant information while on the Atlantis that would verify the report that follows of what happened on the last day.
Agent Smith reported that the resort lived up to its billing, it was a visit to paradise for most everyone who attended, with lots of food and fun every day that first week. Late on the last day, the [I]Live from Atlantis[/I] show was broadcast resort-wide, including the jumbo holographic screens in The Oasis. On the show that night were the reclusive Robert Heliopolis himself and his two guests for the nights discussion: Ann Brand, a noted wealthy economic conservative and individual-rights champion, and the socialist firebrand from Jamaica, RD Manley. What follows is a transcript of that show, with Mr. Heliopolis engaging his guests in a discussion, followed by the aftermath of that show, and the emergency evacuation of the resort.
"So Ann, lets start with you, how do you find the accommodations here, and please feel free to call me Bob, OK?"
"Well Bob I must admit I'm impressed with the your attention to detail at Atlantis. From the food to the pristine beaches, the indoor garden and pool complex in the heart of Atlantis, everything is first class. And the staff has been superb, even though they obviously aren't from the Caribbean," Ann said.
"Well we did want to make a good impression for our guests Ann. It seems we were successful. I'm glad you found the staff to your liking. They've been with us a long time now. How about you RD, did you find the visit enlightening, mixing with all these different people from the high tech industry? Did you gain any information that would help your socialist cause in Jamaica? And the accommodations, were they to your liking?"
"Ah yes 'Bob,' the reclusive capitalist who thinks that because he has money he has something relevant to say about the world and how it functions. Mr. Heliopolis I find the whole place to be nothing but a waste of resources, resources that could be put to much better use in helping the poor throw off the chains of imperialistic capitalist oppression. What hubris you possess 'Bob,' thinking that your little demonstration of economic enterprise here could have some positive effect on humanity. Sure you gave jobs to a few Jamaicans for a while building this monstrosity, but you employ none here, do you? You may impress your superficial entrepreneurial flunky Ann, here, but you don't fool me. You're just perpetuating the class divisions that serve to enslave the proletariat and keep them in perpetual bondage to their oppressors, the capitalists. If you really want to impress me, why don't you invite the people living in the slums of Kingston out for a few weeks of rest and recreation, paid for by you of course. And you could have hired some of my people, they could all use the work, but you import this white European staff to rub our noses in your oppressive racist upper-class structure. How typical of the capitalist class," came RD Manley's reply.
"I'm sorry to hear that, RD. Perhaps we can change your outlook on the state of humanity a little as tonight's program delves a little into the differences between your world and Ann's," Bob replied. "And I do recognize our different racial backgrounds, as you put it, which are wider than you know, but I'm not a racist and neither is Ann, I'm sure. As the program progresses I believe you will find, RD, that our corporation is anything but typical. You might also try to focus on what is being said here tonight, instead of who is saying it. Sometimes the information one needs to make necessary improvements comes from sources outside of the socially and politically recognized establishment. Karl Marx may have been a smart man, but his solutions have never born fruit. Nor has Adam Smith's vision of the free market place been realized. Perhaps the final answer lies between those two views of how the economic world should work. So Ann, how do you feel about RD's point of view?"
"I hadn't planned on getting into such a discussion here Bob," she replied, "but as Mr. Manley has been somewhat vile and pugnacious in his response, perhaps I'll make a few observations on the plight of the poor, the proletariat as he calls them, and how they have earned their places, individually." Turning to RD Manley, she continued, "In the first place, Mr. Manley, most poverty can be laid directly at the feet of the poor, who earn their poverty by their own actions, or lack of. I've seen poverty and I also see the poor behaving in ways that ensure that they and their offspring will continue to live in poverty. I'm no more responsible for this poverty than you are for my wealth. I earned my wealth through individual effort and most of the poor have earned their poverty through individual lack of effort. If one chooses to abuse drugs and alcohol, to spend every dime they get on immediate wants and desires instead of investing it in order to better themselves, then they are right where they belong."
"So the individual is solely responsible for his fate Ann? Hmmn, how does that observation strike you, RD?" Bob asked.
"How does that strike me? Like the usual excuse the rich use to avoid the blame for their behavior. Oh yes Ms. Brand, 'we all gets what we deserves cause we lazy and shiftless folk!' I've seen people try and work their way out of poverty, only to be beaten back by the lack of opportunity because there are no jobs, or only jobs that pay starvation wages. Who does your capitalism help? Not the vast majority of people, but the special-interests groups, the rich and powerful. It is the latest slave system of the rich, and we are just the new slaves, Marx's wage slaves of the twentieth century. You capitalists came to Jamaica and exploited our resources until they were no longer profitable for you, and then you moved on, taking our wealth with you. You steal from the poor to finance your lavish lives, oblivious or indifferent to the destruction you wrought among the people! And this isn't just a local problem, because you do this worldwide! This is the historical reality and legacy of capitalism, socially toxic and self-obsessive individualism and the greed that comes with it: class structure, the rape and pillaging of the world's resources for the benefit of the few. It will never work long-term as long as the majority of the people are left out of the rewards of the system. And Mr. Heliopolis you have the nerve to criticize Marx! Who are you to put forth such criticism? You're just some mysterious capitalist nobody from nowhere that no one has ever heard of before!"
"Well you are a man of strong opinions RD, and you're right about one thing, I'm not from around here, originally. Ann, does RD have a point there?" asked Bob.
"This illustrates one of the problems of trying to talk rationally to people like Mr. Manley, Bob," Ann replied. "They have this simplistic black and white view of how the world is, and the world simply doesn't come in black and white, it comes in lots of colors. There has been some exploitation in the past, but capitalism has grown into a more-beneficial system worldwide that helps many people achieve a good life free of the oppression that your deity, Karl Marx, has visited on humanity with his oppressive Marxist socialist dogma. Today anywhere robust capitalism operates there is a fluidity to it, and if you have the drive and the talent you can move from the bottom to the top, and everywhere in between, in just a few years. Poor people have gotten rich, and rich people have gotten poor under capitalism, it's the great economic equalizer, it rewards effort and talent and punishes sloth. One must also recognize that some people are just plain smarter and therefore more successful than others of lesser intellect. All things being equal, your ability should earn you more than the abilities of lesser individuals earns them. Also, capitalism is not responsible for the overpopulation your people engage in that is a major contributor to your poverty. There is no secret to birth control, you just have to practice it."
She continued, "Humanity isn't a collective hive of worker bees, it's a collection of individuals. Some of those individuals will be able to get where they want to go, some will not. And some will fall in-between and just get what they need. It's up to the individual to make his own fate, and no matter how morbidly fatalistic Mr. Manley is about the future of capitalism, he is wrong. Capitalism is alive and well today. It will be alive and well a thousand years from now. Under capitalism the individual has supremacy in his or her own development. Which is unlike your Marxist socialist dogma, Mr. Manley, that always ends up needing a brutal authoritarian regime to impose its 'solution' on us. You know there is another structure that uses authoritarian dogma to gain and retain control over people and their money; it's the Abrahamic religions. Mr. Manley's brand of socialism is nothing more than a sham religion in my eyes. Capitalism is the one economic system that has shown it can maintain itself and its independence free of socialist or religious control."
"So is this correct, RD? Is poverty really the fault of those who live in it?" Bob asked.
"Hardly, Mr. Heliopolis," RD replied. "As usual the radical repressive right has their blinders on when it comes to their own culpability in the economic disaster that capitalism has visited on humanity. Take, for example, her argument that the rich can get poor, right! In reality the rich just keep getting richer, and the poor get poorer. Marx is just one of the voices that are heard in the socialist movement, and his true vision has never really been tried anyway. Those who hijack the revolution and seek to impose their will on the people for their own gain have always corrupted Marxism. I no more support the state capitalism such as was done in Russia and China than I support the current big imperialists of this world, the USA. The USA imposes its own brand of authoritarianism on the rest of the world. Just look at current events and you can see it in action. Capitalism has had just as much support for authoritarian systems in the past as any of the Marxist systems. Historically, authoritarian religions and capitalism go hand in hand. Remember Hitler and Mussolini? They were supported by good capitalists too."
"As for birth control being the answer to overpopulation", RD continued, "what a joke that is! Who is this birth control available to? Why it's just the wealthy in the western nations, isn't it? In the rest of the world birth control is too expensive for most of the people, and besides the current masters of capitalism have their religious agenda that opposes family planning, don't they? Capitalism, like most religions, has a vested interest in seeing the population of the world continually increase. It allows for the ever-expanding growth of the marketplace so that the capitalists can exploit the resources of the world for their own gain, and then sell to the world's poor their overpriced goods and services that were taken from them to begin with."
Continuing, RD said, "All this talk about the upward mobility of the individual by Ms Brand is just a smokescreen to deceive the wage slaves into thinking they have some control over their lives and ignoring their legitimate needs, needs that can only be met by the collective will of the proletariat. Individualism is the refuge of the greedy, the self-centered, those who see themselves as better than the rest of humanity and worthy of a special place at the table of resources we all must share collectively. The individual is nothing, the collective is everything!"
"I see, RD. So Ann how do you counter his argument? He has some valid points after all, doesn't he?" Bob asked.
"Hardly Bob. His last quote has it backwards, as usual. His rant is just that, the rant of one of those who have placed themselves in unfortunate circumstances and seek to take by force that which they have been unable to gain by their own efforts. The fatal flaw in all these socialist plans is the bedrock dogma most of them follow as put forth by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the pamphlet The Communist Manifesto, to wit:"
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend....
"The flaw in this argument is simple, humanity like a lot of other species on earth is territorial in nature. Early on in our evolution we had developed our sense of territory, called "property" these days, just like so many of the other species that share this planet do now, a process that can be seen in many other species of animals that have marked territories they defend for their survival. That need was ingrained in us for hundreds of thousands of years. The need for a sense of how much land it would take to survive, and the drive to acquire it. It's hard to change that basic need for property that almost every individual has, and subjugate that need for that of the collective. Billions of people can't just be forced to subject their own good to that of the collective. That dooms another basic tenant of Marxism that it needs to be a worldwide system to be successful. That will never happen given that there is so much of humanity that focuses on the welfare of themselves and their families more than the welfare of the collective society. That's just the way it is, the way people are. Capitalism is the best path to take for this need of humanity to serve both the group and the individual. Also socialists never do away with real property in the end, they just change owners and install new masters, and then they make a mess of running the economy, and run it into the ground."
"This is what you wish to do isn't it, Mr. Manley, to take our property by force of arms? This is what all you hard-line socialists want to do, isn't it? But all you have done is set up repressive Marxist socialist regimes that promise a workers' utopia, but deliver an authoritarian hell to all but the new ruling class! You just replace the capitalist oppressors, as you call us, with socialist oppressors. At least with capitalism there is the opportunity for anyone to move up or down the economic ladder. Face it, your utopian dreams of everyone being equal will never work, because humanity is not equal and never has been. There are always some individuals who are smarter than others, more talented, more driven to succeed. There are also those who are content to just get what they need out of life, as well as those who want to be given what they need without any effort at all on their part."
"You can never level the playing field unless you kill those individuals that have proven themselves different, more or less able than the masses--or have any other traits that those in power feel are a threat to them. Of course you hard-line socialists all know this, and always seek to eliminate any and all opposition anyway, and have since day one of every Marxist-inspired regime. It's all about power and how to get it with you Marxists. That's why we have seen the mass executions of the upper and middle class in every state that was taken over by Marxist philosophy. But that only delayed the inevitable didn't it? Now we see the same class structure once again evolving in the former Marxist states that have since thrown off the chains of socialism. The final evolution of Marxist socialism, as Russia, China et al, has shown us, is into a multiclass society under capitalism. How ironic, don't you think?"
"I think Ann makes a point there, RD. The record of Marxist-inspired socialism is one of regimes that just trade one master for another, resulting in socialist failure and conversion to capitalism anyway. At least so far that's been the case. Why is that?" Bob asked.
RD replied; "'So far' is the operant phrase here Mr. Heliopolis, 'so far.' Every new attempt to change social conditions has had its failures. One must learn from them and move on. In the past antidemocratic factions gained control of power and that's why we have seen the failures that we have in socialist revolutions. But when the true democratic socialist revolution is achieved it will be different, you'll see. As for Ms Brand's assertion that socialism evolves into capitalism over time, perhaps her point is true for now. But in the end the social and economic problems that capitalism causes, and its strict adherence to individual greed, so amply displayed today by the obscene wage disparities between the average worker and the average CEO, will sow the seeds of its destruction."
"From the Dutch tulip stock swindles of 1636 to Enron and Worldcom today, capitalist tools have been used over and over as the favorite vehicle of greedy swindlers and thieves. Capitalism is controlled by people who steal from you with a pen or a computer, instead of a knife or a gun. Capitalism is incapable of being reformed. It must be destroyed. This and class structure, among the other problems within capitalism, will inevitably lead to violent revolution as people are starving and unable to feed themselves and their children. One needs to only look at the third world today to see how capitalism just moves its exploitation and injustice from the industrial world out to the rest of the world."
"Yes, you bring up a good point RD," Bob replied. "If the economic needs of the majority of people are not met, then there will always be the potential for violent revolution to be used as a tool to change things for the poor. And I agree that the wage disparity between workers and managers in some corporations today is often ridiculously excessive. I also believe that Ann makes a good point in that if you deny the individual the right to develop their talents to the best of their ability, you doom you humans to mediocrity, or worse. It is inefficient to not have both parties, the individual and the collective, as involved and productive as they can be. It looks like one of the basic economic clashes on earth, here, is between the drive to socialize the ownership of property and the drive to allow individual property ownership. It is in a sense the old clash of the individual's will, and the communities will. A middle ground must be found that both sides can live with, don't you think?"
He continued, "Our history has shown us that any system that tries to restrain either the individual will and/or the collective will, fails in the long run. It looks like the solution is for some basic economic design that allows for both the individual and the masses to prosper, to allow those who produce more to reap the benefits of that effort. The means of ownership being spread out is also critical to help control the damaging effects of greed by limiting how much individuals could own and control. But the need of the individual to use their talent and abilities to succeed and be rewarded for their efforts must also be protected. It's a balancing act that humanity must learn to be successful. Any economic theory not set on a stable intellectual foundation will fail eventually. Design the right foundation and build the right economic structure, and you get to move on in the game of species survival and evolution. Fail and you die off."
"I see this discussion as a restating somewhat of the Marxist theory of the Dialectical struggle; with the thesis and antithesis in conflict, and from that conflict emerges a new synthesis. In this case one could argue it's clear that the thesis is still capitalism, and the new antithesis is Marxist inspired socialism, with the synthesis yet to be born from the resulting intellectual conflict."
"Or you could cast is as a dialectical struggle between the individual's needs and the collective's needs, with the synthesis of the two yet to come into clear focus. Humanity has had both an individual and a collective will for thousands of years now, and the conflicts between them are often difficult to resolve. The one can't completely control the many, nor can the many completely control the one. Perhaps humanity will find that elusive plan to resolve this conflict. It's necessary for your own survival in both the short term and long term to achieve the right results. To focus so strongly on the concept of abolishing private property as Marx and Engel's did in the Communist Manifesto, is a little short sighted. The Marxist dialectical model focuses too much on the material world, on the concept of abolishing private property, which is seen as the root of all economic evil, while the real struggle for economic justice has always been between balancing the needs of the few and the needs of the many. The argument isn't really between the material, the animate and inanimate; it's between the ideas that control them, and has been for a very long time within your species."
"It seems that too much of humanity gets hung up on labels such as "capitalist" or "communist," "right" and "left," "the individual" and "the collective," and all the intellectual baggage that goes with them. If you can ignore the labels, pick and chose the right concepts from the right and left and put them together, and then learn to work together, you will be successful. A good idea has the power to grow and inspire others on its own merits, regardless of where it comes from. Humanity needs to find those good ideas while it can, and solve your individual and collective problems before they lead to the end of your days." Bob said.
"In any event," he continued, "it looks like the new synthesis could be forming now in some parts of the modern corporate world with stock options for the workers and other plans to spread out the wealth. It is a logical step to take, as it allows for both the individual to prosper, and the collective to gain and hold control over its economic destiny. As you spread out the wealth, you increase the size of the marketplace, and you do it with people who can really buy many goods and services. As you increase the size of the productive marketplace, you grow the job base and the cycle continues until you reach full practical employment worldwide."
"It looks like humanity has to achieve a new synthesis to use the Marxist term, and the solution is within reach. You just need to continue to broaden the economic base to include more and more of the workers in economic power-sharing. The more intelligently and democratically you run the economic structure, the more stable and productive it becomes, which benefits everyone. At least that has been our experience anyway."
Continuing on Bob said, "Given the strength of the fundamentalist Abrahamic religious movements, the mainstream socialists and capitalists need to stop attacking each other and focus on the one danger that faces both of you. And that danger is authoritarian religions that seek to drag you humans back to the Stone Age 'perfection' of their religious dogma. Humanity is at a crossroads; on the one hand it is on the threshold of developing the technology to escape your ultimate doom, the end of the world when the sun begins to die."
"When a religious dogma offers pat answers to all the problems humanity faces, promises eternal life in a utopia for believers and a hell for the rest, it's quite a drawing card. But the fatal imperfection in religious belief is the placing of all power in the hands of a mythical being that is unable to exercise that power. This inevitably results in a power vacuum, and the various leaders of the religious factions naturally step into those invisible 'shoes of God' to grab that power in his name, and for whatever ends they can imagine."
"The only way they can retain that power is through an authoritarian structure, which is based on the existence of the ultimate mythical authority, God. It's time to leave authoritarian secular and religious dogma where it belongs, in the dustbin of history. As your history shows, the record of religions is suspect, with endless wars and conflicts--the inevitable result of this clash of authoritarian religious dogmas, such as the ones going on today. We can expect this to continue until either one religious sect is the only one left standing, an improbability to say the least, or more probably until everyone is destroyed in some great apocalyptical conflict between two or more religious/secular authoritarian factions."
"Religions also seek to stifle scientific progress, as science inevitably proves their superstitions to be just that, superstitions, and that will spell their doom as a power in the world. They know this and they know they are dying intellectually in most of the more sophisticated areas of the world. No religiously-inspired society has ever survived to make it out of their solar system. Most of them have destroyed themselves in some apocalyptical battle, or have so stunted their intellectual and technological development trying to stay in the perfect past that they fall prey to simple disease and other natural and self-made disasters. As your religions struggle within their death throws, they are like a great mortally wounded dinosaur thrashing about, very dangerous to be around. Some religions may seek to take some or all of humanity with them in death, as the Islamic extremists have shown us over and over lately. Such is their hold on their believers."
Bob said, continuing, "As long as the right and left, the individual and the collective, or however else you may wish to phrase it, continue to fight each other, they enable the forces of religious superstition to thrive in the chaos that results from the conflict. The right and the left are like two fire companies that are fighting over who gets to hook their hose up to the hydrant, while the house they both came to save burns down behind them during the struggle. Both sides need to make better use of their time. There are many difficult challenges facing humanity, none more difficult than finding the right economic balance between the will of the individual and that of the collective, but it can be done."
"For instance take our species and our ship, the Atlantis here. All the crew owns it in a corporate structure, and I'm what you'd call the CEO. I make a good living at it, but everybody on the Atlantis makes a decent and self-fulfilling living. This is the collective side of our system. In our economic system the workers as you call them, have majority control of the means of production, to use the Marxist term for the Atlantis here, and a share in all the rest of our species' means of economic production. This is done with widespread use of stock ownership through trusts of almost all businesses, spread out among the entirety of our species, wherever they are. We all belong to an intergalactic stock exchange. Everybody who works owns a piece of every publicly traded company stock. The wealth is spread out, but the talented individual still has the ability to prosper on his own merits. We are able to reach a balance between the two wills. You can too. A little logic, and a little faith in it can work wonders."
"This is the individualistic side of our economic system. This allows for the cushioning of economic hardship for those businesses that have reached their zenith, evolutionarily speaking, and are now in the process of the inevitable decay into obsolescence and rebirth that is the fate of most enterprises. This way, as old businesses die, new ones replace them and new entrepreneurs emerge, grow their ideas and their personal wealth, however they may define it. It is the synthesis of the two extremes, the individual and the collective working together, that allows it to function so well. It is the natural order of a well-run economy like ours. There is much more to it of course, but this is the intellectual foundation of our economic system, a fair balance between the will of the individual and that of the collective on economic matters. Each species must find its own economic balancing point. Humanity's short-term problem for perhaps the next two thousand years or so, is finding that point when most of both sides are satisfied with their lives and are able to live in the level of material comfort that they have worked for. To fail in that endeavor is to fail as a species in the long run."
"It has worked for hundreds of thousands of years for us now. You see every intelligent species we have discovered, or which have discovered us--be it humanoid, reptilian or other--has had a marketplace within which goods and services are sold or traded. Business and trade constitute the intergalactic language that speaks to everyone. Every species that has made it to eternity has had to overcome one mutual conflict, the struggle between the individual and collective will, in all of its possible manifestations. The trick is getting it to be as productive for the majority of the people as possible while still amply rewarding those who excel in their own fields. There you have to have a little of what powers all religions, faith. Not blind faith in myths, but faith in logic and rational thought being able to show you the way down your particular economic and social evolutionary path. Look at what sheer faith has wrought through the mythic religions. If you use some of that power to propagate a secular solution to humanity's economic problems, think of how potent it could be." Bob said.
Continuing on he added: "So we have achieved both of the things you two hold so dear, the rights of the individual to prosper based on their own ability, and the needs of the majority to have economic stability and a decent and fulfilling life. There is no perfect system, but if you continue to work on it you can evolve a democratically-inspired economic/political system that meets most peoples needs nearly all of the time. If you can do that, you can end the economic and social conflict and disarray that fuels the appeal to some people of the Abrahamic religions and their leadership. This will end their drive to control humanity, for if most people in the world have a good economic and social life, the mystic forces of religion will appeal to less and less of them over time, eventually fading into a self-righteous and ignoble oblivion."
"There are some big hurtles to overcome, problems such as overpopulation, which the Abrahamic religions have a big hand in fanning with their opposition to both birth control and family planning, and their drive to gain more members through the overpopulation which their dogma encourages. It is impossible for humanity to continue to have the level of population growth you have now without running out of the kinds of resources you need to survive long term. Already you are depleting the oceans of fish, and running out of arable land and water. To continue on this way is the path of lunacy. Humanity can do better than that."
"Humanity's industrialized nations have solved overpopulation for the most part with education and the realization that arises from it that big families are a hardship on the families themselves, as well as on the rest of the world. Your species needs to spread out that economic solution until pretty much everyone is involved socially. Humanity hasn't quite gotten to the right intellectual economic foundation yet that will handle both your collective need for economic security and the need of many individuals to flourish as individuals. You will never eliminate poverty or wealth completely. Even among our species, as egalitarian as we are, we have some that refuse to take care of their own needs because they are lazy, and some that feel the need to have much more than others because they are overdriven to succeed. Both extremes are rare and don't cause much in the way of problems socially or economically. And the hard chargers are usually at the front of the intellectual development that fuels social and economic evolution anyway." Bob said.
"I can see that it's about time to end this program Ann and RD, I hope it has given you both something to think about, and perhaps it will lead to some real breakthroughs for both sides, the left and the right, as far as how to achieve the necessary economic solutions that will allow your species to move on in its evolutionary development."
At that point both RD and Ann asked the same question, "What do you mean our species? You're just as human as we are."
Bob replied; "No, we are actually Polluxians from the star system you call Pollux. We are outwardly very much like you in most respects. We are all humanoids, though we are biologically unable to reproduce with you as we have discovered. We are also amphibious, and our skin and hair is able to absorb oxygen directly from the sea. We can live in or out of water, which has made your planet very agreeable to us."
Bob added: "Atlantis had been sitting on the rim of the old volcano we reformed into a docking bay for it for the first eight thousand years of our mission here. But then over the last two thousand years we had to sink the ship into the bay, to hide it from humanity as you became able to navigate the oceans. Now we have to go, our mission is through and our studies of humanity have been completed for now. Besides, your technology has progressed to the point where it will soon be able to discover our research station here, and the level of technological knowledge it contains that might fall into human hands would constitute a breach in the interplanetary code of noninterference in the evolution of a sentient species. So we must leave, but we did want to let some of you know that there is hope for your kind, and you are not that far away intellectually from achieving what you need to achieve economically and to continue along your evolutionary path."
Bob said, continuing: "Most species in your stage of development have put religious superstition behind them. You are behind at this stage of your growth. You need to focus on the future, and disengage from power those beliefs that seek to take you back into the past. If you are to survive as homo sapiens and get out into the universe, you will have to find your own way. That's the code of the universe, so to speak. If you aren't smart enough or peaceful enough as a species to survive long enough to overcome your own mistakes and evolve your technology to a sufficient level to escape the earth, then you don't deserve to get off the planet and out of the solar system. The day will come when you will have to leave the earth as the sun dies, if you survive your own worst traits that is, and you will need almost all that time to overcome both the social and technological problems that such an endeavor will entail."
"There's plenty of room for intelligent life out there on worlds that are just evolving into usable habitats, but you must find your own way to them. This will be your goal, to make it out into the universe--or die trying. After all, either you all get off the planet eventually, and you can only do that by having some impressive individual and cooperative effort, or you will all die. There is no eternal survival possible for humanity on earth. But there is once you escape the bounds of your solar system. If humanity can't get out into the universe, it faces eventual extinction, no matter how long it survives on earth. You would call it social Darwinism I guess, but there it is," Bob said.
"We also find that those species like ours, that are on the cusp of breaking out into the universe, are usually also on the cusp of self-destruction. Humanity faces self-destruction both from the technology perspective run amuck, and from the desires of authoritarian secular and religious movements to take and hold power, and misuse that technology for their own selfish ends. Unfortunately your technology has progressed to the point that we feel too much of humanity is a danger to us, so we must leave."
Bob continued on: "We are going to go study a new planet with an emerging reptilian intelligentsia developing within several species, all of whom are rapidly gaining self-awareness. It should be very interesting research, and like our study of earth very lucrative as far as broadcast rights are concerned. The thirst for knowledge of all things among the various species of the universe makes our entertainment department very profitable for us. That's how we have been able to afford to study you for so long. Your lives here on earth are as good as any fiction we could dream up and have more than paid for our research here. Our retransmission stations in the asteroid belt that relay your media programming will continue to provide plenty of earth material to sell to our networks."
Bob added: "You'll be able to tell quite a story about this encounter, complete with pictures and video many of you have taken. Of course getting people to believe your story in this cynical and divisive age of mass media anointed talking heads and special effects will be a challenge for you. Your species has been found worthy enough to get this one invisible helping hand pointing the way you need to go to become an immortal species like the rest of us. Chose the future or lose it, the decision is individually and collectively yours."
"Well it's been fun watching you evolve socially, I hope humanity makes it into the universe and joins the rest of us. Just remember science, logic, reason, a little faith, and a strong will trumps religious superstition every time in the real world. And the real world, not the make believe one of religion, is the one you need to focus on if you are to survive long enough to get into the cosmos. And that's our program for tonight folks, please follow the crew as they guide you off the resort," Bob said.
With that there was a rumbling and shaking of the Atlantis, and the "abandon ship" claxon started shrieking at full volume as everyone rushed off the resort. As the guests looked on in awe from the islets, the sand bar in the middle of the bay continued to rise and the sand swirled off of it, revealing a golden tinted dome of some thick translucent material and a small pyramid shaped structure within it, like a slightly smaller Atlantis. The four pieces of the Atlantis Resort broke apart and started sliding off and down the rising dome in the middle of the bay. Then the pieces of the resort slid out of the channels to the sea, and sank in the deep water. The mother ship that emerged from the sand bar in the center of the bay was a ball, and much larger than the Atlantis Resort. It barely fit between the islets. As it floated soundlessly in the air, four legs extended out from the globe and came to rest on the lips of Dead Man's Cay. Escalators ran up the legs from the beaches, and the crew of the real Atlantis, the Polluxians, all went back aboard. Bob stood there talking for a few minuets with both Ann and RD, reported agent Smith, who had surreptitiously recorded that conversation.
"So RD, Ann. Do you see what we've tried to show you?" Bob asked. "Do you understand that you must find some way to bring major social and economic stability to humanity or you will continue to have conflict and eventually perish as a species? I hope so. You have so much to offer the universe, if you can solve your own internal problems. You just need to tweak the intellectual foundation of your economic systems a little to get the logical compromises that you need to solve your remaining economic problems. When you get the foundation right, building the rest of the economic structure is easy in comparison."
"You have all these economic models built in the past, but the foundation of each of them is flawed so the resulting economic structure is flawed, and the economic conflict is never-ending. But when you get the foundation right, then the economic structure built on it has a much better chance of being successful. There are many good proposals available, such as the Carey model for democratic capitalism, which may prove useful in this endeavor of yours. However if the left and right continue to fight each other, you both expend your energy uselessly, and you help pave the way to power for the repressive secular and religious forces that seek to drag humanity back into the past, a past when all mankind was supposed to be closer to its mythical God. Humanity must move forward intellectually, towards reality, not backwards to the delusional reality of religious superstitions. The choice is clear, either humanity chooses a logical, rational path to its economic and social problems, or the emotional, illogical and eventually fatal path that all authoritarian secular and religious dogmas offers."
"As a species matures, that myth gives way to scientific knowledge, and the discovery of the reality of the random evolution of life throughout the universe, as is slowly happening with your species now. Many humans still hold on to their superstitions more firmly than most other sentient species do at this stage of their development. The mythical past is not where you want to go, believe me. The future is your only hope. You will have quite a struggle contending with the forces of religious dogma, as the current war on Islamic terrorism attests. Religions are divisive and in constant conflict with each other, either a physical conflict or a conflict based on competing scriptures. This conflict will never end as long as religions are around to push their dogma onto humanity. They are in it for the long run and very resilient, for it is difficult to disprove an imaginary being in the minds of its true believers."
"And these religions are very dangerous, as the endless conflicts between them throughout history demonstrate. Religions are based on myths and they can carry a conflict forward forever because they will never get the only word that would stop them, the word from their imaginary God. Your species needs to leave that kind of authoritarian kowtowing behavior to imaginary beings in the past. Your potential long-term destiny requires it, for you can't go both forward and backward at the same time."
Bob continued: "You can't defeat authoritarian religions by force of arm, but only by the force of your individual and collective intellect. You don't need to attack religion physically, just continue to evolve yourselves physically, intellectually and socially, and religion will eventually collapse upon itself due to its own internal flaws. In time, it will become obvious to everyone just what religion is--the oldest, biggest and most lucrative scam on the planet today, the God/religion biz. It's a business that sells you nothing but myths and some dubious morality lessons, and reaps billions and billions in the process. But eventually as the centuries go by the planet becomes more educated, the more people will just drift away from the inanity of religion until it is just a phantom from the past. Just be there to pick up the pieces, taking care to avoid getting sucked down with it in some great apocalyptical battle brought on by its impending demise. And remember, there are those that would not hesitate to follow some religious leader as he takes them on the path to humanity's final genocide in the name of God and religion, of course. Humanity must guard against these kinds of people, for in their religious insanity they would destroy everyone, thinking they are going to save them in the process."
"It's time to go now. We wish you all the best. The catamaran 'Fast Cat' can hold all of you for the journey back to Jamaica."
"Wait" Ann said. "You mean to tell me that you built this place just to destroy it? What kind of sense does that make, to spend that kind of money for nothing?"
"Yeah," chimed in RD, "you could have spent it on the needs of the poor instead of this overly sophisticated publicity stunt!"
Bob replied, "Your species does have that peculiarly strong attachment to money. Really it's just a medium of exchange and not an end to itself. Having the money isn't important, it's what one does with it that counts. We did this specifically to get the attention of all our guests, especially you two, Ann and RD. It's the high-tech and more-liberal intellectual left that has the best chance to find common ground with the moderate right and everybody else in between in this economic climate. The resort was built just for this event, just as you would build an expensive city set for a big-budget movie, only to scrap it at the conclusion of filming. It was just an elaborate prop to entertain and help tell a simple tale at the same time. They say the best movies not only seek to entertain, they seek to give us a little truth in the bargain, a little something to think about. The truth in this tale is that humanity needs to solve the intellectual economic problem between the will of the individual and the will of the masses. To fail in this effort is to eventually fail as a species, no matter how successful you may be in other areas. If you find and then chose the right path, you will move on as a species. If you don't, you won't. It's as simple as that. So chose wisely."
"As for the money, well we are leaving so we have no need for your money anymore, as it is worthless once we are off earth. RD, Ann, if you don't refine your economic system and make it more productive for everyone and get your population growth under control, if you don't gain a worldwide democratically-controlled social-order, whatever we spent here, wherever we spent it, will be of no real consequence in the long run anyway. Humanity must survive the present before you can travel to the future, and some of the radical Abrahamic religions and authoritarian secular dogmas are hell-bent on getting to the Great War, the Apocalypse between good and evil. Unfortunately that will inevitably just turn out to be a battle between some of the adherents of the thousands of different factions of the authoritarian dogma of the Abrahamic religions. Or perhaps it will involve its doppelganger, secular authoritarian dogma, or some combination of the two."
"In any event the battle could kill humanity in the process--unless you stop them. And even if they don't do that they will try to derail humanity from the path it must pursue if it is to become eternal. Either way, humanity dies unless it avoids this fate by casting aside these Dark Age authoritarian religious and secular dogmas. In the end, the only way to truly defeat the God/religion scam or its secular authoritarian doppelgangers is to allow them to continue to make themselves intellectually irrelevant to humanity. Sooner or later these religious scams will wear thin with most of you, and all secular and religious authoritarian dogma will become irrelevant--if humanity lasts that long."
"If your species continue to seek and/or allow religious and secular conflict, as well as this pointless misdirection over political, social and economic systems, instead of developing a consensus to move forward between yourselves, you doom humanity to extinction. Humanity must continue to evolve socially and economically, or die. All I can say before leaving is that the right choices exist, it's up to you make them. And if you do, humanity will live past these dangerous and troubling times, and eventually become an eternal race. Be careful, and good luck."
With that Bob went up the escalator into Atlantis. The escalators withdrew into the hull, the door closed and it took off straight up and out of sight. There was no blast, almost no noise at all as Atlantis silently rose up and minimized itself into a small golden dot in the night sky, and then disappeared in a bright miniature flash.
The guests all boarded the boat they came on, and went back to Jamaica. Everybody was pretty quiet for that trip back to Jamaica, and then on to his or her home. They had a lot to think about. One thing for sure, they all had an experience they would never forget.
There have been no conclusions by the agency as to what this all means, and it's not clear at this time as to what, if anything, this event will lead to.
The agency will monitor any further developments, if any, on this event, and will issue further reports as needed. All agency employees are again reminded not to copy or disseminate this information.
END OF REPORT.
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