(Note: I’ve made a blog post from a comment I posted after a story on Medium called “Why Arguments Against Abolition Inevitably Fail” by Angela Y. Davis, abolition in this case the abolition of police and prisons.)
Dr. Davis, you are still talking about reform, not a fundamental change of society. You’re addressing only one aspect of society, albeit a central one, police and prisons, crime and punishment, or however we label the way we deal with people who harm or are suspected of harming others, how we make communities safe from harming individuals or groups, give people justice that have been harmed, and prevent said individuals and groups from harming more, not to mention healing them, something seldom discussed. Furthermore, you’re context is racial, as if it’s the determining factor of society itself, however significant it is in being a determining factor, much like Marxism makes social class the basis of understanding and organizing society. And you’re only looking at the history of America in terms of policing and prison, as if it’s occurred in isolation and isn’t a part of the evolution of ‘crime and punishment’ in the development of human society. There is a long history of it before America came into being, and just like the Marxist saying the bottom line of history is class struggle, you can make the case that policing and punishment evolved solely in terms of the effort to control minorities, but, while you’d identify a major player in the evolution, you’d narrow your understanding that would make it unable to grasp the whole of the matter.
A fundamental change in society would involve an essential change in human identity, or, put in practical terms, a fundamental change in the ways and means of ego transcription and the subsequent socialization and education of individuals growing up. From birth we’d have to give children a more inclusive identity, where they identify first and foremost with being a human being over being a Last-Name (family), an American, a male, a Christian, a White person, or whatever grouping human beings identify with, which wouldn’t mean we stop identifying with groups. It’d mean we identify first with humanity, and it’s beyond the discussion here, but such a holistic identity would naturally include the whole earth, as the step to the whole of humanity would be a giant leap to holism.
A holistic identity holds in the very ground of its consciousness an identity with all it sees, what the ideal “love your neighbor as yourself” is realized, and it’s also beyond the scope of a single comment to discuss the allowance and celebration even of difference as the foundation of the unity, the delight of the holistic identity, or the fact that each creature and species have different needs and places in the scheme of things, and that a clam would not claim the rights of a human being, and that each human being would have the inalienable right, regardless of any intrinsic characteristic such as race, gender, or sexuality, to self-fulfillment and self-determination, but it does good to mention these things here to understand what holism is and is not. There is no other way to stop racism in society, to change the formula of crime and punishment, no other way to end violence, no other way to stop climate change, in short, no other way to fundamentally change society. Spend some months and years doing the math.
It’s not impossible. It’s just going to take a lot more than this current racial crisis, not undermining its importance, to get us to make such a radical change. It’ll take us facing extinction, not as something afar that will come if we don’t do such and such, but something directly in our face: things like cataclysmic destruction or an environmental disaster. But we can still start now. Although such an ego transcription could not fully come about only in a progressive family environment, since society at large plays such an enormous role in giving us our identities, parents can go a long ways in giving their children a humanity identity. And pilot communities could be started to work towards that human unity to circumvent the problems an individual family faces in giving its kids such an identity. Of course we’d have to become a whole lot more conscious of the process of ego transcription, something we are as yet largely ignorant of, but there’s no doubt that it takes place. You like art, seem to always include it in your lists, and I have a lot of art (poetry) that reveals the ways of means of how we become the people that we are and what it means to be human. You’d find a lot of it on Twitter but not only there, and it’s also on my Medium account.
Of course it will take generations to make such a fundamental change in human identity, even when we begin to give it lead in raising children on a large scale. I don’t think even our brightest and best thinkers are mature enough yet in thought to grasp the possibility of such a change, much less begin to work towards it. People like you will hit on the particulars and the immediate, but even here, it’ll take a long time to work change. I see you’re a student of consciousness, and I don’t think it out of line to make the assumption that you operate from the scientific paradigm, have studied it as science studies it, something made by the brain, have not done a lifetime of self-study of consciousness itself, and I mean by that an exploration of your own consciousness.
Since childhood, via lucid dream, out of body experience, and spiritual experience, I’ve explored mine. One thing of significance here that I’ve focused on is if my consciousness connects to yours, you being other people, and if it does how and what that would mean to being human. For 25 years I’ve had a partner doing the same exploration, and we traveled both together and separately to many different countries and discussed dreams and inner experience with most all whom we were around for any length of time, and we often stayed with the people of the country we were traveling in. (I myself was a penniless vagabond for a number of years.) I can say that I do not believe that we share a common field of consciousness but that I know we do. But it’s taken a lifetime of study every bit as thorough and time-consuming as what we normally mean by school.
It’s here, in the knowledge of our shared field of consciousness and its implications, that we will find the missing pieces to the puzzle of human evil, racism a part of that picture, pieces we yet do not even know are missing. How many hidden wills are involved in a person harming another? What is the effect of ill will that people feel inside on the whole of society? Is the ill will to punish someone who harms, or who holds a racist attitude, the same ill will they feel harming or holding that attitude?
The biggest objection to your thesis of abolishing the police and prisons is how to protect communities from harm and administer justice, it no longer being a forced restitution. And how are you going to stop people from causing harm? You won’t get a handle on it until you become more fully conscious of yourself and our shared field of consciousness, indeed, of our shared identity, or I should say, that until enough of us are thusly conscious (can I say ‘woke’?) to outnumber those that aren’t, because you don’t have all the facts yet, those underwater ones so to speak, the more powerful ones that move us towards causing harm to one another. You aren’t even looking in that direction. Towards that end I post my comment.