Ingo Swann (08Aug02)


“No one gossips about other
people’s secret virtues.”
Bertrand Russell


An essay entitled THE SPECIES GUILD was introduced into this website in June of 1997.
It was designated as an “ATTEMPT to consider and discuss how astonishing, amazing, wonderful, creative, energetic, and visionary species actually is, and to focus on these qualities and attributes ONLY in some positive sense.”

Considering some of the awful content of the past six years, it seems time to take another look at the topic, and to enlarge consideration of it.

Unfortunately, one does not have to go far to encounter the overwhelming accumulation of information, literature, and entertainments that focus on the most dreadful going’s on within our species as a whole.
In stark contrast, references to the amazing nature and superlative virtues of our species have become almost non-existent, most specifically within the conventional mainstreams.
For example, the term WISDOM has almost dropped out of usage altogether, even though IF our species has intelligence it OUGHT to have engineered deliverable and perpetuating wisdom, too.
Reference to wisdom in this website is not out of place, since it constitutes one of the most superlative superpowers of our species, alongside the several others that support and nurture it. Indeed, if intelligence is not somehow effectively infused with wisdom, one could think that intelligence might not be all that intelligent.

In a superficial sense, WISDOM is ambiguously defined as knowledge accumulated via philosophic or scientific learning.
More profoundly, it is defined as “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships” in order “to achieve insight, good sense, good judgment, and wise attitudes and courses of action.”
The foregoing is not so much a complaint as it is a reminder that all individuals of our species are born with innate, hard-wired equipment to have insight, etc.
But it can be stipulated, as many authors have done, that a wide variety of social conditioning software programs can cause insight to remain latent and therefore not too actualizing and functional – the same conditioning programs that largely result in “the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”

To this writer at least, it seems that when there is constant focus and emphasis on the negative aspects of our species, coupled with NO nurturing of our superlative virtues, one can begin to wonder what the long-term outcome of things will be.
Our history bears ample testaments to this. There are many deplorable examples of affairs within which wisdom, etc., was apparently considered as nothing more than an inconvenient nuisance.


A few years ago, an individual of rather remarkable status in Europe came to see me. The purpose of the visit was to discuss certain issues, one of which was why it was so difficult to research and develop those human attributes referred to in this website as superpowers.
We quickly agreed that the world’s conventional power structures and affairs are largely governed not only by control of power, but also via secrecy of various kinds, and that those affairs need elements of secrecy in order to function as they do.

A list of human activities that depend on secrecy is actually quite long. But even a short list shows the magnitude of the role that secrecy plays - for example, in political, governmental, and diplomatic activities, in intelligence and espionage organizations, in major economic activities, in military and warfare strategies and tactics, and in nefarious activities many of which can outwit discovery of them.

Secrecy can be seen as meaningful - as long as conventional human existence is conceptualized only in the contexts of the short list above.
Indeed, it is quite clear that those contexts are not all rowing the same lifeboat of developing and nurturing human excellence.

Various secrecy activities are, of course, enemies, or at least opponents, to each other. But they all have one concern, or fear, in common: discovery and exposure not only of their activities, but also their goals and motives.
Most formats of secrecy are pursued with at least a relative certainty that they can be set up and remain secure, specifically within conventional contexts.

In this sense, there is a relative trust in knowing what conventional contexts consist of, so that the understood dimensions of these can be factored into designs of conventional secrecy efforts.

Their thrust is to keep things hidden from the perceptions of others - specifically from the conventionally known and thus ordinary perceptions which are understood to be narrow, and therefore easily identified and predicted.
All secrecy efforts have vested interests in keeping modalities of secrecy within the contexts of ordinary perceptions. And so all of them find themselves united when it comes to ANY prospect of non-conventional forms of perception.
If non-conventional forms of perception would become efficient enough, they would be seen as invasive to conventional formats of secrecy. So the solution to this would be to prevent knowledge and development of them altogether.


My visitor and I then began discussions of what would have to happen in order to transcend whatever prevents development of human superpowers - including intuition, clairvoyance, and telepathy, each of which is considered as non-conventional, hence invasive of secrecy and all THAT implies.

We then spent an invigorating morning sorting out three potential scenarios that would not only support research and development of human superpowers, but also demand it.


The first scenario would consist of discovering that a nation or some other powerful human group has taken a secret, but serious initiative in this kind of research and development.
If something like this did happen, then other nations or powerful human groups would have to respond to it, at least in order to find out the specifics of what was going on and what progress was being made.

An example of the first scenario actually happened during the Cold War era when, much to their utter surprise, American intelligence analysts learned, during the late 1960s, that the Soviet Union had been involved in this kind of research and development since the 1920s.

The intelligence agencies were thus obliged to fund significant research of their own, even though the idea of emergent human superpowers had long been consigned to “giggle factor” status.

This first scenario could not gain permanency, because individual national and power-group activities come and go. Their initiatives would, in time, be covered over within the power machinations of conventional contexts.


But such would not be the case if the second scenario came about.
Let’s say our human species encountered another species at least equivalent or greater in intelligence, but which was also equipped with certain developed superpowers – especially that of telepathy.
In that nothing like this other species exists on our planet, that species would necessarily have to be ET in origin.
This means that such species would not be confined to the contexts of Earth environments and limits as those are presently understood so far in conventional terms – and that THEY might even have greater flexibility outside them.

If the second scenario would come about (and there are indications that it has), then some kind of serious human species effort would ultimately have to be mounted, even if only to attempt to obtain a defensive posture to the possibly invasive threat from Out There.
A developmental effort of this kind reason would surely disrupt the secrecy elements of our own species conventional power structures on Earth.


A third scenario could come about if, in advancing times, it might be perceived that wheeling and dealing only in conventional power-structure contexts alone are not all that workable with regard to saving, for example, Earth’s ecology, or to save the integrity or, in some possible end, even the survival of our species.

There is good evidence that conventional elements and their traditional contexts put their own survival in front of, and often in opposition to, numerous larger whole-Earth issues that ultimately affect everything on Earth.

While a spectrum of those larger issues had little meaning 100 years ago, they are now slowly manifesting in undeniable negative ways. Without some kind of big scale responsiveness, they will have dire consequences – even for conventional elements.

Thus, in recent times efforts have arisen efforts outside of conventional elements to save things such as forests, threatened species, the air, water, and natural resources, etc., and to do so before they are depleted and perhaps irrecoverable.

One context shared by all such efforts is that they represent formative guilds. GUILD is principally defined as “an association of those with kindred pursuits or common interests or aims,” formed especially to save, protect, and preserve, sometimes by any ways and means possible.

A guild for saving, protecting, and preserving that has not yet come into existence is a human species guild. One essential aim of such a guild would be to reassert the higher-order superlative virtues and superpowers of our species.
Or, if one prefers, to rescue and re-emphasize them from among the massive morass of lower-order activities that focus on our species negative going’s on - a focus which is ending up in the depletion of just about everything including human wisdom-making.

There are, of course, confusions about just what human superpowers consist of.
Many human factors that are simply taken for granted are not thought of as superpowers – such as insightful thinking and deduction, intuition that foresees outcomes, problem identification and solving, and that type of clairvoyance (sometimes called “hunches” or “gut-feelings”) that can assess whatever is invisible to the physical senses.
This author even includes thinking itself as a superpower, if only because it can be discriminated from thoughtlessness, especially from big-time thoughtlessness.

And a superlative superpower, almost always ignored as such, is Caring - and which can achieve great positive outcomes and influence. After all, the absence of caring achieves nothing while its presence can often move mountains.

Regarding research and development of human superpowers, a potential human species guild would have to establish at least some kind of focus as to what might save the human species from its lower-order, often absymal proclivities within which evidence of FUNCTIONAL human superpowers is nil.


In any event, as indicated in the quotation at the head of this essay, human “virtues” (secret or otherwise) are almost so alienated from social awareness that their existences does not even enter into the realm of gossip about them.

This essay was actually triggered by a recent quotation offered up in the syndicated gossip column of Liz Smith, and featured in The New York Post.

"No one gossips about other people's secret virtures." (Bertrand Russell)

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was the once-famous British philosopher and social reformer, and whom, in my own experience, had tremendous influence and impact during the 1950’s – that post-war decade during which were blueprinted the outlines of many socio-economic scenarios that are still functioning today.

On its surface, the quotation seems simple enough, even somewhat amusing. But it has several significant layers of meaning – one of which is that the blind spot regarding human virtues is so insidious that other people’s secret virtues do not even enter the otherwise powerful realms of gossip.

If other people’s secret virtues also reflect virtues inherent in our species, then Russell’s observation can be seen as deep and trenchant. In other words, the quotation takes on far, far more meaning than the mere eight words used to say it.

In addition to there being no gossip about other people’s virtues, no encyclopedias exist that itemize positive and superlative human qualities, just as there are no encyclopedias itemizing human powers.
And so no one has any organized source to consult about the real existence of their own superlative qualities and powers.

The absence of such encyclopedias may not at first seem all that meaningful and significant.
But the absence reflects the on-going existence of some kind of subtle and mysterious sociological situation which, itself, is left unexamined in ways that almost everything else otherwise comes under scrutiny.
Indeed, no one gossips about the existence of that mysterious situation, either.

While Bertrand Russell (a once important philosopher and social reformer) has faded into the past (like so many others of now-defunct significance), he indicated in his autobiography (published in three volumes between 1967-69) that: “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”

Well, leaving aside the “longing” (because it is all too familiar, right?), any search for knowledge that does not include attempts to increase knowledge of the superlative qualities of our species is a somewhat suspect search – for if we do not achieve such knowledge, then what does the search otherwise consist of.


In any event, in the absence of the search for knowledge of our species superlative qualities, then the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind DOES tend to come into view – at least to those who bother to notice it.
It then can be wondered why the unbearable suffering exists in the SAME species that otherwise prides itself on having what is grandly referred to as intelligence.
So we have a prideful intelligent species within which pity ALSO exists for the unbearable suffering of mankind.
A sense of that pity can activate, here and there, what is often defined as “social consciousness,” which is generally thought of as discovering ways and means to alleviate and combat the existence of the unbearable suffering of mankind.

Without any doubt, such social consciousness activities are obviously laudable and important.
But it can be assumed that the unbearable suffering merely consists of symptoms downloading out of much deeper going’s on that are not too much attuned to the suffering itself – and in some cases are notably aloof from it.
One reason behind this assumption is that the unbearable suffering of mankind has a very long and still on-going track record.

Another reason could be that human intelligence, as so far defined and perceived, still has something to find out about itself in order to become more fully functional.
Perhaps the desirable terms here might be something along the lines of “superfunctional” or metafunctional, which incorporate the superlative qualities and powers of our species itself.
If that might be the case, then it is appropriate to wonder about what IS incorporated into human intelligence, or, rather, into the uses of human intelligence that are not really consistent with all that much intelligence.

Here one could enter into the well-known litany and dirge of uses of intelligence that do not really reflect too much of it, but which are made quite visible everywhere, so much so that one doesn’t really need an encyclopedia to grasp them.
This litany and dirge apparently consists of almost anything that does not reflect, or even suggest, the existence of the vast reservoir of superlative human qualities that endure throughout our on-going species, even though not much real use is made of them.


Since ancient times, historians have principally focused on the great changes and shifts that have occurred within the outlines of various social orders. In more modern times, the on-going historical effort has included emphasis on “progress” that has been made within such orders.
In the same modern times, and in keeping with the emergence of various formats of social consciousness, some historians have attempted to document the tremendous suffering that has occurred within and because of the great changes and shifts that seem noteworthy enough to be considered of historical importance.
Except for some statistical downloading, these few efforts have not attracted any large degree of interest.

One probable reason for this is that most of those who have suffered are not among the movers and shakers of those orders – and so they have little historical importance or interest. But even so, many movers and shakers have been brought to their knees, beheaded or hanged, sometimes exterminated, and so they are not automatically excused from the suffering.

Well, conventional power orders are indeed composed of movers and shakers, but their numbers involve certainly not more than 10 percent, and probably less than 5 percent of any given societal population.
Thus, conventional human history is not much more than the history of this smaller fraction of our species, and as such is NOTHING resembling the real history of mankind – because that real history needs to incorporate the magnitudes of the unbearable suffering of the majority born into life.

If we think of our species as having intelligence, the actual historical track record of the suffering of mankind is appalling in the extreme.
In one way or another, it certainly involves more than 50 percent of all those born into human life, many of which have been direct and indirect victims of 5 percent of human history, this including the many who have simply been wasted within the contexts of collateral damage.


In respect of all this, it seems to be the case that our species has its ugly underbelly, some parts of which seem to be devoid of intelligence - with the exception of whatever kinds of intelligence or cleverness are needed to propagate them.

And those parts of the underbelly ARE propagated, if for nothing else, via the overwhelming focus on them.
Now, it needs to be pointed up that dealing with the ugly underbelly is considered a high virtue, and so, for example, the fictional superheros Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, etc., including 007, having possession of some kind of superpowers, inherit this task.
The implications of all this are that the essential and only purpose of the superheros is to deal with elements of the ugly underbelly, and specifically within the terms recognized by those elements.

When this is well done, either in fact or in fiction, it is a joy to behold. But a subtle element of all this is that the superheros seem to have no other function.
And this gives the impression that the ugly elements are always on-going and that one needs to be a superhero to begin with in order to deal with them.
If one reflects on the reasons for the tremendous popularity of the fictional superheros, it could be thought that their successes trigger some kind of latent awareness that reminds of superhero factors in our species.

In any event, the contexts of the superhero fictions do deal with potential human superpowers, and do so in ways that are hardly to be found elsewhere. The fictions can therefore be appreciated for this, since any contextualizing of human superpowers is better than none at all.

There are, of course, numerous jumps that have to be made to get from fictional contexts to non-fictional ones, i.e., to get into what is usually referred to as “real-life” issues regarding activities within the ugly underbelly.
Characteristics of the ugly activities usually become plain to see in the end. But by the time the activities are seen it is usually too late to do anything about them.

The ugly activities are interesting and fascinating in themselves. But they do come and go, perhaps largely because they come crashing down as ultimate effects of their own internal discord.
The ugly activities therefore do not persist as such, but the human motives behind them seem to be on-going and continuous – and so chapters in the saga of the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind also continue.

The suffering begins again in each generation, making the platitude that our human species should learn from the history of its past mistakes seem badly out of tune.

And speaking of ABSENT encyclopedias, there are none that list and itemize identifiable human motives, very many of which are repeated time and again, and are therefore identifiable.
One possible reason for the absence of THIS particular kind of encyclopedia is that once motives are identified then too many games are automatically down the tubes – unless they are maintained by social conditioning or by abject force.

So, in that sense, it is better not to have encyclopedias that list the wide spectrum of motives along with their subtle characteristics.
Indeed, there are many human motives that cannot fulfill themselves, that cannot really work too well, if they become too visible – visible, say, to their potential and ultimately realized victims.

For reasons not too clear, in conventional terms human motives, and their resulting activities and proclivities, are commonly divided into the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In the sense of this division, our species thus reflects one part positive and two parts negative motives and activities.

The implication of this little calculation is that the one part good can easily be outmaneuvered by the two parts negative.
There is copious evidence easily at hand that something like this is the on-going case. It is well understood that the two parts negative can, in time and with dedication, disassemble the one part positive, and do so within the contexts of clandestine machiavellian strategies and tactics.
Thus, as it is commonly said, things can change but things remain the same.


In any event, it IS quite well understood that our species/mankind is in possession of superlative virtues, i.e., superpowers, against which, if they manifest, do give problems to the two negative parts.
For example, when linked with each other, the two basic superpowers of insightful deduction and caring can easily give pause and concern to the two parts negative.

Indeed, the mix of these two basic superpowers often results in serious commitments that are difficult for the two parts negative to cope with.

It is thus to be wondered why the super-positive superlative part is lopped off from positive-negative line-up of our species.
Which is to say, lopped off, for example, within modernist sociological and psychological contexts and which disciplines otherwise exclusively tend to focus only on what is negative within mankind.

One possible explanation for this is that those two once-powerful disciplines were being responsive only to social orders whose workings cannot permit too much manifesting of superlative human powers, and all that they imply in superpower ways.


For lack of a better way to express it, one can think in the rather tired and tattered terms of higher- and lower-order motives, but with the proviso that distinguishing between them is often difficult and arcane.
For example, many lower-order motives announce themselves as higher-order ones, and all too often continue generally to be perceived as such.

It is tempting to begin a list, as so many have, of lower-order motives. But each reader should attempt this on their own steam, lest it be thought that this author is trying to lead readers into his own reality box.

In any event, it is far more challenging to try to identify at least ten higher-order ones.

This kind of task somewhat depends on what one is using as a reality box, whether one has self-constructed it, or whether it is a socially conditioned one. So guidelines are a little hard to establish.

Generally speaking, however, lower-order motives ultimately lead in the direction of victimization of one kind or another – and/or, when large-scale enough, into the direction of the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

A difficulty that can be encountered in attempting these lists is that one might have to depend on one’s intuitive, clairvoyant, and telepathic factors – because utilizing reason and logic alone might not reveal too much with regard to motives that are deliberately hidden.

Other essays in this website have discussed the background of these particular difficulties. But briefly here, hidden motives, especially of the lower-order kind, need to thwart too much emergence of those particular human superpowers, and the reasons for doing so are quite obvious.

If certain human superpowers are perceived as an invasive threat to hidden lower-order motives, higher-order motives are but an occasional nuisance to them.
While there are numerous reasons for this, higher-order motives are, on the one hand, often based in a sense of potential harmony throughout the species that COULD be nurtured as such.
But, on the other hand, many higher-order motives tend to try to unfold within their own reality-box contexts, and thereby make themselves aloof from the prevailing real-time, lower-order activities and the rather sorry intellectualizing of the motives that invigorate them.

Indeed, THIS author has been told by many higher-order activists that giving attention at all to lower-order motives serves no other purpose than to give energy to them.
Well, lower-order motives have more than enough energy of their own – which is why they do prevail so easily and have evolved many Machiavellian devices whereby they reproduce themselves so easily.

MACHIAVELLIANISM is, of course, “the view that politics [of any lesser or greater kind] is amoral and that any means however unscrupulous can justifiably be used in achieving political power.”
As has been pointed up by many investigators and authors, Machiavellian perceptions translate quite easily into all walks of lower-motivational orders in which unscrupulousness is depended upon to play many significant roles.

It is understandable that many higher-order enthusiasts do not themselves wish to evince symptoms of unscrupulousness - which, nevertheless, is explicitly acknowledged as one of the principle sources of the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.
And so those enthusiasts have not evolved Machiavellian strategies and tactics of their own – which is somewhat to say that they have not become lean, mean, fighting machines with regard to their own goals and visions on behalf of our entire species.

Advocates of lower-order motives of course realize this, for some of them are not entirely bereft of modicums of intelligence.
So the best thinkers among them realize that higher-order enthusiasts will not, in general, become lean, mean, fighting machines.
Rather, as one anti-utopian functionary once told this author via a nice turn of phrasing, they “will strangle themselves with their own platitudes of social consciousness.”

Well, many, or even most, lower-order motives do not have too much social consciousness to begin with. Indeed,, the history of the twentieth century alone has provided some stunning examples of this kind of vacuum.

Another aspect of higher-order motives consists of the pseudo-legendary assumption that human superpowers of the species (such as intuition, clairvoyance, and telepathy) should not be developed because they could be used to support negative goals and ends.

Well, maybe, but maybe not.

One possible reason for the “maybe not” is that modicums of clairvoyance and telepathy put one in closer touch with sensing and feeling the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. Many famous psychics this author has fortunately known often complained about this, and begin wondering how to “help.”
Indeed, lower-order enthusiasts seem not to come into too much contact with these kinds of sensing and feeling, and so although the suffering may be “out there” it doesn’t have all that much to do with them.

As Samuel Johnson (1709-84), the English author and leading literary scholar and critic of his time, once observed: “Those who do not feel pain [and suffering] seldom think that it is felt [by others].”
One of Johnson’s more famous works was his book entitled LIFE OF SAVAGE (1744). This was a bitter portrait of corruption in London and the many miseries endured because of it.

Sounds somewhat familiar, doesn’t it?


In the past, this author read somewhere of the concept that each of us becomes what we do, but only in the light of what we can sense and feel – what we cannot sense or feel does not really exist for us.
This is somewhat like saying that if we cannot sense-feel “ripples in the Force,” then we are at distinct disadvantages as to what is impending in it. The “ripples” of course refer to, say, lower-order disharmony injected into the higher-harmonies of the Force.

But one of the meanings of this is that while those who do not feel pain and suffering might not think that others do feel and experience them, the awakening, for example, of the superpowers of vibe-sensing, empathy, and telepathy, etc., tends to put one more in touch with the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

Indeed, those particular superpowers are among the many that, in a more complete sense, connect us with the larger vista of mankind, our species entire, and perhaps with all species and life forms.

There is in little developed evidence of this in our species so far. And so it is not too surprising that ET fly-bys fly right on and do not touch down to engage in interchanges.THE HUMAN SPECIES GUILD

[To Be Continued]

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