CBS showed a report about veteran and entrepreneur Jake Wood and the organization he’s created, Team Rubicon recently. The work the organization is doing and Jake’s motivation for starting it struck a strong connection with me. I’ve been thinking about this type of problem this civic problem for our society for quite a long time. It’s one thing to be “anti-war” (since Vietnam). It’s another to develop a reality that is Pro-Peace. And I think Jake is right on point in terms of the primary issue veterans face, and what causes a lot of the malaise and difficulties of readjustment and the manifestations that we see, suicide and social disease, especially among our veterans, actually extends to our whole society.
Everything Jake says about the abrupt lack of real “purpose” applies perfectly to veterans [making sure your buddy makes it back to base is massively purposeful motivation, while selling the most whatever just doesn’t have the same immediacy and value]. I think it applies to every, one of us. Not every one of us, I shouldn’t say that. Because some of us actually are born with a sense of purpose. But not having an abiding sense of purpose is the fundamental cause of most human dysfunctions. Having felt a strong sense of purpose, and then loosing it can be devastating.
I have known individuals that, for some reason, seem to know from the beginning, from their earliest days, what they want to do. They feel compelled to move themselves in that way. They study or learn to participate in that type of activity. They are self motivated their whole lives and they become experts. They have no question about what they’re doing and they are truly doing work that they love.
We all know that when doing work that you actually love, you’re really not “working” at all. You’re living a life. And it’s the best life you could possibly live, because you’re living a life of purpose, and of service. You feel like you’re getting something done. You have connections to people. You’re a part of the bigger whole, society, and the super organism of humanity. In being so, you feel fulfilled. That’s what it is to be human. You’re happy. Maybe that’s all there is, but at least it feels good. Maybe that’s all we can ever hope for in our lives, is to feel good, and I don’t think that’s such a terrible thing.
What I have envisioned is to take Team Rubicon to the next level. Beyond recognizing that all of these veterans still have commitment to service, having crossed that line, to make a commitment to the greater good of the United States of America, recognizing all of US have the same need for a sense of purpose. There’s never going to be a lack of things that need to be done. Services that can be performed in the name of our country. In fact, it seems to me that that could become the purpose of our country, to be a service organization for the planet. Instead of the police organization we see as our predominant foreign policy standing.
How do we do that? What would we do that with? The recognition is that purpose is what we all want, what we all need. People need to have a sense of purpose. And that purpose could well be the remediation of natural disasters, and working for the improvement of human condition. I envision our Military Industrial Complex being totally retooled and repurposed. The need is all over the place. Doesn’t matter whether climate changes are anthropogenic or not, at this point infrastructure and agriculture are already being impacted. Our Military could be more engineers than soldiers.
Nature’s still gonna keep challenging us. The cosmos will still entice us. That’s a dance that humans have to deal with, that humanity has had to deal with since we became aware. It’s part of what moves our intelligence forward. We don’t need war to do that. We have that that that dance with nature is enough to fulfill the readiness and technological functions provided by having a Military. There are things like pathogens and viruses that require guides and aids to deal with, not soldiers. That we will be using soldiers to distribute COVID vaccine will make this disfunction clear.
Truth of the matter is we could possibly suffer from an asteroid impact, like life on this planet has suffered previously. So there’s all sorts of potentials, and improvements that we can make to our living condition. if we were focused on the notion of developing what Buckminster Fuller would refer to as “Livingry,” instead of all the efforts our nation puts into weaponry.
What we need is a National Service of Team Rubicon available to every citizen. Take the military budget that we have now and redirect its focus. Repurpose all of our infrastructure. Mothball the guns and ammunition, and start repurposing some of the other equipment for construction and remediation efforts. Flint still needs a water system. High Speed Rail could be added to all Interstate Corridors, transforming those web established corridors into avenues of High Tech Innovation and American ingenuity.
Retask, repurpose, and redeploy many of our current military that wish to to volunteer for this service. And I believe that they just as many as there are willing to volunteer to kill others, there would be even more, willing to volunteer to do good work and to help people in the name of American goodwill. Some may say what about a defense? of course, we need to have a defensive organization that is able to rise to the defense of our nation in our interest around the world, and in the interests of our allies.
In our current Military, the biggest point of training is teaching people how to work together. The Military’s greatest impact is creating a cohesiveness, teaching human beings how to work together as an organization. Functioning as a unit, with a goal and a task to achieve. A Purpose. Yes, there’s some tool usage in terms of armaments, the Tools of Destruction. How to drive a tank isn’t that different than any track vehicle. If a person can use a hammer and power tools, using a gun is not hard to figure out. Most Military techniques and tasks are directly mappable to constructive things as well.
The primary need of a Defensive organization is the ability to get a mass of people working on the same task, whatever that is. If that is repelling an enemy, then that’s what people will do the using the tools necessary to do that. If you know how to use any sort of construction tool set, it’s not that hard to learn how to use a gun. Guns aren’t that difficult of devices. If the nation is being attacked, if there’s an obvious reason for defense, the motivation to kill doesn’t need to be taught. It shouldn’t need to be taught. The threat must be real, not some abstract notion of potential calamity. That sort of rational is what has propelled the threat Eisenhower warned US to watch out for and prevent.
If there is a real threat to our Nation or our allies, we’d have the full complement of personnel to apply to it. I trust America. They’ll be able to use the tools that they need to use. It’s not that hard to train somebody how to shoot a gun, how to operate, especially most of the military equipment today. It’s more training the will to do it. Once organizational unity is established doing things that are positive, when it comes time to do something militarily, it would be done. There wouldn’t be any problem. People that have been trained well would follow those orders.
A new national service could be established. Keep the Spaceforce, but create a Peace Force. Transition all the current enlisted populations into that Peace Force. A Peace Force able to mediate all sorts of international and national disasters, able to deploy with ships and helicopters rebuilding infrastructure with the most modern technologies possible, developed in the United States. Instead of Belts and Bridges (or what ever China’s doing getting countries invested in Chinese technology and Chinese economics). The United States of America could be engaged similarly, except maybe demonstrating the value of egalitarian Democracy. That would seem to offer a much more prosperous possibility for the role of US on the planet.
If America is to be policing, police the resources consumed and the rates Americans are consuming them. Wasting the Earth’s resources by dumping them in the ocean or burning them into the atmosphere must end.. We’ve all got to recognize that we can’t do that anymore. We’ve got to become more self sufficient. We’ve got to join with China in developing an ecological economy. An economy that is based on ecological principles, that looks at source, material, preservation and utilization, maximization of utilization, from beginning to end. From source to purpose to repurpose, repurpose and repurpose until eventually there’s maybe a point where it is considered waste, but as we know in nature, there is no waste. Everything in Life at some point comes back around and gets recycled.
I strongly believe the best way to honor veterans is to recognize the horrors they had to endure and work to develop structures and culture that help US to avoid it in the future. We have so far to go.