Beta Culture: Rebooting Civilization

As a superhero movie fan, I love reboots. Even though I know pretty much every version of the origin stories of Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, etc., I never get tired of the retelling.

It’s all about the JOURNEY, you see. I get to come along while someone spends millions of dollars telling this story, and though it’s familiar territory, it’s still a glorious ride.

The concept of the reboot got me to thinking, though. What if you could reboot your life? Start over and make the story of your life a different story? Take different paths, explore different talents, undertake different endeavors. Would you do it?

Honestly, I don’t know whether I would or not. There was some sure-enough shitty stuff happened to me when I was younger, but it was what led me to leave Houston and go off adventuring elsewhere. In some of those elsewheres, I met my Cowboy Dad. I met my best friend. I met a number of other wonderful people. And I got to have adventures that, in the occasional telling, sometimes wow even me.

Some people would say “Oh, you would have met other people who would have been just as good,” but that’s Fate-meme bullshit.

There are a lot of people on Earth who DIDN’T meet my Cowboy Dad, who never knew just what a wonderful man he was. Their loss, I say. And the idea that I might have been one of them, if my life had taken a slightly different turn … well. Knowing the effect HE had on me, the trouble he went to, out of all the other people I met over the years, I can’t imagine anyone else, anywhere in the world, doing as good a job at … transforming me. Taking me out of the ugliness of my former life and helping me be whole and happy. My life would have been different, but the huge probability is that it  still would have sucked.

But what if you could perform a reboot that saved all the good stuff, but added in more good stuff? What if I could keep my memories of my Cowboy Dad, the wonderful souvenirs of my life in the mountains, and yet somehow fade out the bad stuff of my past and replace it with newfound … oh, say, wealth. Or fame. New adventures of love. The learning of other languages, the development of different talents and skills.

Would I do it? Oh, yeah. Hell, why not? I could always turn back around later, after all, refusing the new stuff. Or rebooting again and taking a different path. But meanwhile, I’d get to explore wealth, or fame, or love, or radical new adventures, as this pretty good ME I already am.

Speaking of rebooting, and thinking about Beta Culture, I realized that’s pretty much what Beta is all about – a reboot. What if you could reboot civilization itself? What if you could keep all the good stuff, and winnow out the bad? Pretty tall order, right? Totally impossible, in fact. Except …

Dying Grannies

You know that silly question that every atheist sooner or later gets asked?

“If your very religious grandmother was on her deathbed, would you tell her there’s no God? That Heaven is a lie, and that she was never going to see Grandpa again, or the son she lost in Vietnam?”

Whew. Tough one, right? Except it’s not all that tough if you expand the conceptual frame of the question and think bigger than the confines presented to you.

If you could travel back in time 50 or so years, long before your grandmother was on her deathbed, would you tell her the truth about religion THEN? Would you set her on a path that would give her 50 years free of it, living her life with gusto all the while and never entertaining sterile fantasies of some sort of silly “afterlife”?

In my own case, knowing my grandmother stayed with an abusive man for decades because she thought that was the way you were supposed to do it – because God – I’d leap at the chance to tell her. “Granny, screw Jesus! Dump that a-hole husband of yours and let’s go dancing! Let’s find you a boyfriend who’ll see what a wonderful person you are, and will love and cherish you and keep you in luxury for all your life!”

Damn right, I’d tell her. Like me, she might choose not to walk this other path. But at least she’d have the choice. She could reboot her life in freethought, rather than travel the path she DID, of spousal abuse and obligatory religious enthrallment.


So what does this have to do with rebooting civilization? Just this:

For the world of 50 years from now, TODAY is 50 years ago. This is The Past where we can make a difference. We don’t even have to time-travel back to it. We’re already there.

A lot can change in 50 years. Or, you know, nothing can. We can just go on as we’ve been going, playing out the probably-grim future currently being jammed down our throats. Or we can start doing something different, right now, today.



What if we could do away with sexism, racism, the manipulations of people like the Koch brothers, the propaganda and lies of Fox News, falsity as an accepted part of business, government sponsored gambling, for-profit prisons, Wall Street bailouts, our silly drug laws, so much more?

Would you adopt the metric system and have your 50-years-hence kids and grandkids using it, rather than this inches-gallons-pounds thing we all still stupidly struggle with? (Yes, yes, Europeans, we know.)

Would you create a culture of justice and humanity and security that would see you and yours safely through the storms we already know are coming? Would you make an effort to trim-tab the course of larger civilization so that things were better for the rest of humanity in the midst of those same storms?

I would. I think you would too.


The past few days, I’ve been toying with some mind-map software, Xmind, to visualize some of the things I’ve been thinking about Beta Culture.

I’ll explain everything you see here in a near-future post, but here’s the mind-map so far.   It’s a pretty large file; click on it to open it in a new tab or window, big enough so you can read it.















"Best to you, Mr. Fox, and for your efforts."

Goodbye Patheos—Hank Fox Bows Out
"All the best, Hank! Your thoughts and words have always given me something to ponder."

Goodbye Patheos—Hank Fox Bows Out

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