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Poem: "Manifest Diversity" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Manifest Diversity"

This poem came out of the July 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from rowyn.  It was sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.


Manifest Diversity


Humanity discovered that
the optimum size of a civilization
was the city-state.

It was large enough to hold
a goodly supply of resources,
yet still small enough that
people could get to know
most of the folks in their field.

That made it possible to elect leaders
who actually knew what they were doing
most of the time, in most places,
if that was what people wanted to do.

They learned to trade in networks,
from city-state to city-state, following
the slow change of terrain and goods.

The borders were softer and smaller,
bumping and nudging against each other
like horses milling in a familiar herd,
here and there firmed up
by the line of a large swift river
or a shift from one language to the next.

The city-states might quarrel, now and then,
over this valley or that mine,
driven to conflict by a drought or
somebody obsessed with saber-rattling.

Yet on the whole they were peaceable,
for they never developed that drive of dominionism;
they did not long to subjugate and absorb each other,
growth as unlimited as cancer until the body's bounds.

So it was that humanity
spread across the globe like a net,
each city-state a little knot of culture
connecting to many others
by the long fine lines of alliance.

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Comments
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 8th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Again, I am strongly reminded of Traipah. Traipah does have a global government, but the global government mostly serves as an arbiter of disputes, occasionally deporting troublesome offworlders back to their planet of origin. Most governing happens on the local level. Most of the economy is local, too; I think "city states" is a good term for it, though I hadn't thought of it that way before. But yeah, there are no countries or counties on Traipah, just cities, towns, etc. Cities trade with one another when they need to.

However, the global government of Traipah is not the only global organization. The Unity Order is a major one, since it works with other larger Orders like The Order of Kusahnia, as well as with smaller Orders, making sure everyone on Traipah gets a good education. They still focus a lot on local wants and needs, but the curriculum is often basically the same. Unity Schools, as they're called, teach Values above all else; compassion, good citizenship, critical thinking, etc. Traipahni schools teach children HOW to think, not WHAT to think. All Knowledge based classes (history, maths, science, etc) are taught with the goal of getting kids interested in the subjects, and thus *wanting* to learn. History classes, among others, are discussion based rather than facts based. I think even Maths classes are, to some degree; after all, there are facts about math that are interesting and powerful at teaching (things like "multiplication is repeated addition; division is repeated subtraction") that often get missed in Western schools.

There are social expectations that restrict what global organizations can do. The rich and/or the powerful are expected to use their power to improve society, to make survival for the whole culture easier. Greed is seen as a form of mental illness. The rich are expected to pull their significant weight in constructive ways, or else the people get really pissy. It's a world full of aspies, basically, with a cultural worship of knowledge and wisdom, a powerful cultural dislike of ignorance, and a powerful cultural hatred of stupidity. Nobody there gets away with the kind of shit you see rich people on Earth doing. At least, not for long. A group like Wikileaks would be hailed as global heroes on Traipah.

Everyone is expected to pitch in, if they can, and there are many programs and organizations dedicated to making sure everyone is at least trying to contribute. It helps that the people of Traipah are fanatical in their love of art, music, writing, and anything else that makes the world a more beautiful place and/or celebrates the world's beauty.

It also helps that the crappy, menial jobs and the dangerous jobs tend to be given over to machines/robots whenever possible. Most people who work for the sanitation Guilds are engineers and repair-persons.

Oh yeah, the government also collects taxes and uses those to pay for free health care and free secondary and tertiary education. Healthy, happy workers are productive workers.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 8th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

I think it's interesting that they have such a diversity of global structures, not just government. Redundancy is helpful -- if one goes down, they still have others.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 8th, 2012 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

Indeed.

The Unity Order is largely concerned with education. It coincides with The Order of Kusahnia. Kusahnia is the Yahgahn Deity of Knowledge. They run most of the libraries on Traipah.
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