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Propaganda born of a focus on the radical personal change necessary to create a sustainable global society

The old title was "Voluntary Holocaust Participation Manual draft 1." I tired of seeing that under the ecovillage topic. Here's the original description: I've been trying to think of different angles on supporting fervent efforts to create ecomonasteries. This is one attempt. Please contact me if you'd like to assist, or be on the board of directors.

Added by colin #442 on 2003-06-13. Last modified 2005-04-26 22:44. Originally created 2003-06-13. F0 License: GNU Free Documentation License
Location: World
Topics: ecovillages, libraries, media campaign \ propaganda, monasticism, philosophy, suicide, Vision

Voluntary Holocaust Participation Manual

Suicide for the world.

Table of Contents


Many of the problems facing the world today would be resolved if the Earth's human population was reduced by several billions or more. This document serves as an ever-evolving manual for bringing about mass suicides of individuals who contribute to world problems. Suicide is interpreted broadly to include willful ending of one's biological life (physical suicide) as well as a radical change in behavior from a deleterious to a benign or positive way of life (psychological suicide). The voluntary holocaust will require a large-scale, global effort to communicate and to mainstream “suicide for the benefit of humanity.” This manual details how both those ending their lives and those continuing to live can most effectively support the voluntary holocaust.

Section headers (draft)

  • What are the problems facing the world?
  • Are there alternatives to a voluntary holocaust?
  • How can one assess the destructiveness of one's life?
  • What does psychological suicide involve?
  • How can physical suicide be most effective in furthering the voluntary holocaust?
    • tips and pointers for an effective, expressive, and benign suicide.
  • How can those continuing to live be most effective in furthering the voluntary holocaust?

What are the problems facing the world?

It is difficult to make an unassailable case that there are in fact world problems. Species extinctions, human starvation, and lawnmower noise and fumes detracting from one's Sunday morning breakfast al fresco can all be seen as simply “how things are.” If we define world problems in terms of human suffering, it is possible to ignore the impacts of human behavior on non-humans.

Death and destruction are necessary for any organism to live, not just humans. We do, however have some freedom in how much destruction is caused by our lives. The natural world, perhaps, has no problems—only creation and destruction of habitat—one organism's loss is another's opportunity.

One could then say that the only problems facing the world are human perceptions of problems, often caused by a desire to reduce human suffering. Even if we suggest a loss in biodiversity is a problem, we're still looking at things from a human perspective. What if buffalo and voles consider loss of habitat a problem? Humans are capable of ignoring the suffering not only of other humans but that of other species and physical entities (rivers and streams) as well.

Perhaps something better may be an assessment of beauty. Is a twelve-lane superhighway beautiful? Is an earth void of condors as beautiful as one with the giant birds?

Beauty seems to get at a more common thread, while still allowing for a change in cultural perceptions of beauty over time.

There may have been a time when many humans would consider a new Ferrari as more beautiful than the net destructive effects of the activities needed to create that Ferrari or the road that it is driven on. Even today, different individuals will evaluate the beauty of a Ferrari differently.

For the sake of appealing both to the über-conservatives and radical environmentalists in this document, the problems facing the world are those problems that reduce our joy and appreciation of our lives. Presumably the religious fundamentalists are irked by those who kill babies or who pray to other gods than theirs. The right-wingers are irked by environmentalists who would limit what they can do on their land. The enviros are irked by the destruction of non-human habitat. All humans are irked at assaults on their health (nuclear fallout, drinking water contamination, rising food prices). All of these things shall be considered world problems (abortion, reduction of property rights, destruction of habitat), because for different humans these are all in fact world problems.

How then can these world problems be solved?

All of these problems can be solved if the individuals contributing to the problems either suicide or change their behavior.

The neighbor mowing her lawn Sunday AM could harikari or stop mowing the lawn. The abortion doctors could kill themselves, or they could stop aborting. Those polluting the waterways... and so on.

Now what of people starving to death? Or growing up malnourished? Those problems are a bit more difficult- as in the other cases, suffering was not caused by the suffering individual, but presumably, either behavior change or suicide on someone's part would improve the situation.

Now what if someone decides there are no problems, and goes on merrily driving her SUV, exploiting distant slaves, or poisoning waterways? The others who perceive her actions as problems will either need to get her to perceive her actions as problems or force her to change.

So, in sum, the problems facing the world are the problems we perceive.

Are there alternatives to a voluntary holocaust?

Yes. We can stop perceiving that there are problems requiring addressing. Let's assume there are problems needing addressing on a large scale, the over-fishing of the ocean for example. And that there is not just one problem, but many large-scale problems (water pollution, deforestation), that relate to the number of living humans and the lifestyles of those humans and power differentials among those humans.

Possibly power differentials could be evened, oceans and waterways could be protected.... but It seems more straightforward to me to reduce human population.

Ideally this reduction would be brought about through voluntary non-reproduction, but it could also, and more quickly be brought about by suicides and lifestyle changes. No, there really isn't an alternative to the voluntary holocaust for the problems I perceive.

Furthermore, if it isn't already clear to you, the people in power benefit from excess humans. Excess humans mean more cheap labor (slaves). If people stopped having children and moving to the US, the tax base of the US could wither, property values would decline, and so on. Not having children, and even suiciding is quite a damaging act to an oppressive system. Encouraging others to follow your example is even more so.

How can one assess the destructiveness of one's life?

I just ate a banana that was not organically grown, and was shipped to Northern Virginia from Central America. I'm using electricity generated from nuclear power. I'm using products produced in factories using chemicals and metals that were mined or created using toxic processes and labor made cheap due to over-population and lack of free land from which to glean a living. And so on. To live, I destroy. Should I commit suicide for the benefit of the world, or is there a more effective action I can take? Can I change my behavior so that I am not contributing to problems I perceive?

Ultimately, the destructiveness of one's life will be assessed by the individual. However, the individual who has never considered what might be involved in the behavior of driving a car, eating imported fruit from chemically-treated fields, may not assess the impact of her life as accurately as someone who is more inquisitive.

A direct cost-accounting is probably not necessary: if you use a car, you're destroying more than if you do not. The more taxes you pay to the federal government, the more destruction you support. If you spend money at all, you are giving others a tool that they can use for destructive ends. If you make money and burn it, you are increasing the power of those who do not burn their money.

One can, by using an artist's eye, develop some idea of whether one's death would be beneficial or not.

It is very difficult to assess one's destructiveness when very destructive behavior is hidden or commonly accepted.

Transitioning to live less destructively will often involve significant life-changes. One may have to move, become homeless, or learn how to hunt, fish, gather, and grow.

Doing so may involve a psychological death— you will have to sever relationships with those who continue lives of high destruction, and seek out those who can help you live in a way you've come to find more beautiful.

Your old self will have to die.

You will have to assess the destructiveness of your life by considering the effects of your actions. Maybe, in fact, your lifestyle is not so benign. Maybe it is supported by extreme power imbalances, slavery, poverty, and environmental destruction that is hidden from your view. If you'd like some help seeing, read some Derrick Jensen.

What does psychological suicide involve?

This was touched on briefly— it involves coming to the point where you are no longer able to continue in a way of life you perceive is destructive to you and to others. You would rather be homeless and hungry or even kill one's self than continue participating in the mindless destruction you are aware of. When you leave the old destructive lifestyle and behaviors behind, you are committing psychological suicide.

How can physical suicide be most effective in furthering the voluntary holocaust?

  1. Leave your resources to the foundation that is dedicated to assisting the humans who continue to live to live in as harmless a way as possible. See below for more information on this foundation.
  2. Coordinate your suicide with others—perhaps establish a worldwide voluntary holocaust suicide action day, where many can collectively suicide on the same day for more effective expression of their desire to not participate in the destruction of the world.

The individual act could also be used to gum the works of the destroying machine— while this manual does not go out of its way to emphasize destruction of destroyers and others who participate in destruction, realize that once you have decided to suicide, you are quite free of any sort of social constraint to your actions— you can do anything, as you will soon be dead. Be creative!

How can those continuing to live be most effective in furthering the voluntary holocaust?

I am doubtful that the voluntary holocaust movement will be as successful in increasing suicides as Phillip Morris has been at encouraging smoking. If the holocaust is successful, it will probably be because of psychological, not physical suicides.

What can those who continue living do?

  1. They can avoid reproducing. Many others will still be making children. These children need to be helped to become aware of their choice between destructive lifestyles and less destructive ways of life, and of their basic choice of whether to live or to die. Focus on the children who are already born, rather than making more!
  2. Even though I have the best of intentions, I am not yet living as harmlessly as I could. I have yet to grow and gather most of my own food. I still spend money. We who are trying to live less destructively and more joyfully need help. Every community should have a foundation supporting the members of that community who wish to reduce the destructiveness of their behavior.

I've been thinking of this foundation as “The Ecomonastic Foundation” or, because I like libraries, “The Ecomonastic Library Foundation.” Though, without a doubt different communities could have different emphases (music, service).

These foundations would support the acquisition of land for ecomonastics to live on. These ecomonastics would live lives of example of how to live less destructively. Their food will be locally grown, their buildings will be off-the-grid: they will generate any electricity they use, compost any waste they generate, and store and harvest rain that falls. They will live lives that are at the least benign, and quite possibly they will be of service in encouraging others to join them, and in creating additional opportunities for others to live as they do.

There will be many fights along the way. Zoning ordinances will need to be changed to allow composting toilets and rainwater harvesting (or the ecomonastics will have to move elsewhere- but as these are aspects of their beliefs and not harmful to themselves or to others they should be able to gain approval). The ecomonastics will also need to find ways of avoiding giving money to others who use it for destructive ends... How can we avoid paying property taxes and so on on our monasteries? Many of these questions need to be addressed in creating opportunities for a less destructive life for an increasing number of participants in the voluntary holocaust.

A final note

What if the Houston Review types idly continue their exploitation, while we're all living simply and sustainably, and not having children? Can we really rely on conversion, when the Amish and the Mormons are hugely successful by focusing on reproduction?

(here's an article in their paper)

I don't know the answer to that. If the ecomonastic foundation is around in the future it will only be because of converts, and some will be from the Amish and the Mormons.

For many of us, we wish to live joyfully close to the earth, regardless. This is not an act of self-abnegation, it is a transformation of self in which no other way of life can be wholly loved. By working together in our community and with related communities (intentional communities and ecovillages), conceivably we can have significant influence in many areas.

A postscript

I wish to avoid attracting people prone to mindless following of ideology. My track record in finding participants suggests I need not worry about this, but for the sake, then, of art, I wish to make the following point. I am open to change, and want you to be too. Someday I may own a Land-Rover and a wife may have me. And because I think that path is not a likely one for me, I am planning for a child- and car-free future in a community of similarly-oriented people.

Regardless of whether you have children, drive cars, eat non-local food, you can probably recognize the importance of encouraging an ecomonastic existence. We seek to be able to welcome all people, so that even if in your youth you had a stable of Porches and seven children, yet now you wish to live with us, you would be welcome. Likewise, if you arrive at our monastery at the tender age of 18, and meet your true love in our cloisters, while you wouldn't be able to stay (though maybe, if no children...), we'd wish you well. We would have served our purpose in supporting those seeking to live lightly and joyfully with others who share their orientation and who can help them in their way.

If the general idea of this style of living appeals to you, but the word monastic scares you away, please suggest an alternate approach that can be used to achieve the same general ends.

For some background to this daydreaming, visit YoMonastic.

Colin Leath <>    

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   the church of euthanasia, by colin on 2003-06-13 20:21:04

Thanks to Michael Butakin of the yoism discussion group for pointing out the Church of Euthanasia !

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