Philosophy of Abundance, The
The Corporate Religions of the later First Federation period.
Historical Overview By the start of the 14th century AT the original utopian (but somewhat inefficient) Command Economy of the First Federation had fully made the transition to Market Economy, a process that saw the beginning of the vast inequalities of wealth, undermining of social reforms, and centralisation of corporate power that was to chronically plague the Federation during its later period. With the rise of megacapitalism from the 14th to 16th centuries (the so-called middle Federation period) the great cultural, intellectual, and spiritual achievements of the early Federation were replaced by a much more limited perspective. Society no longer centered on benevolent centralized government, but on the ability of mercantile entities like venture capitalists and megacorporations to generate wealth. Those who were a part of this wave of economic reform became wealthy beyond their dreams. Those who weren't were still (at least during the Middle Federation) provided for, but their standard of living was not equal to what it had been during the earlier Federation period. There was, therefore, a strong desire among many to catch the corporate wave. There was also the need among the corporations themselves to develop a unifying ideology, one that was wholesome to their directors and at the same time encouraging to those bright young things who wanted to join up and climb the corporate ladder. The result was the so-called Philosophy of Abundance, better known to history as the Corporate Religions.
For a period of several centuries during the middle First Federation period, the Corporate Religions were enormously influential in all spheres of government, administration, culture, and academia. At the same time there was a strong backwash among those who bemoaned the decline of such original Federation ideals as Knowledge for Its Own Sake, Beauty from Wisdom, and Provision for All. The superficiality of the Corporate Religions and Abundance Ideology were widely despised in the old school of Academia, in the newly emerging knowledge Institutes, and in the now opposition Interplanetary Federation Party. But this resistance did not stop the Corporate Religions exerting their impact on the middle Federation consumerism, arts, memetics, and administration.
In the end it was the breakup of the megacapitalism in the late Federation period that brought about the decline of the Philosophy of Abundance. The over-extended megacorps were barely more able to control their far-flung empires than the Federation Administration itself had. Breakaway babycorps, memetic subversion by anti-capitalist hackers, colony corpwars, repeated crashes and bubblebursts as the promise of Interstellar Mercantilism failed to deliver, and the rise of the hereditary houses all contributed in part to the end of the megacapitalism era. The old Philosophy of Abundance and Corporate Religions were subverted by regional powers and the hereditary heirs of the megacorps and babycorps, who used them to justify their own "divine right of rule".
Most of the megacorporations that survived this period were the so-called aicracies, the AI-led megacorps, none of which had shown any interest in Corporate Religions. It was these AI-led megacorps that were to ultimate lead to the rise of the great AI-empires during the eras of Expansion and Empires.
Nevertheless the corporate religions and ideology of Abundance was to be enormously influential in the development of the League of Free Trading Bodies and the even more more influential Non-Coercive Zone.
Influences The Philosophy of Abundance developed from the popular religions, quasi-religions, and ideologies of the early Federation - Cosmism, Nuagism, Omegism, Transhumanism, and Universalism. From Cosmism it acquired its pantheistic ideology, from Omegism and Transhumanism its evolutionary orientation towards a perfected ideal, from Nuagism its doctrine of abundance and true and false self, from Universalism its emphasis on the Light Within, and from the corporation itself its aggressive capitalistic orientation. These influences were combined to form the unique entity that is the Abundance Ideology. Although the different corporate religions varied in many minor details, all conformed to the same basic pattern.
Abundance It is not possible to understand the corporate religions without understanding what they mean by the term "abundance". According to the Corporate religions, Abundance is an almost mystical quality that pervades the cosmos. The cosmos is intrinsically abundant, it is intrinsically good. This is in contrast to such diverse sects as Buddhism, Pleromatism, and the so-called astromanichaeian cluster of religions, all of which see existence in this world as ultimately one of suffering or unsatisfactoriness. Because the cosmos is abundant, there is enough abundance for all, all one has to do is reach out and grab it. Those who have acquired abundance can serve as role-models, teachers, and paragons of those who are still striving for it.
True Me and False Me A disenfranchised person may ask, if abundance is so universal, why am I so poor? (in fact the satirists and alternative media of the time had a field day parodying the abundance ideology and corporate religions). The ideology replies like this: even though abundance exists everywhere, if you yourself have doubts or feelings of negativity or self-impoverishment, you cannot realise it. Thus the Corporate Religions continually refer to the contrast between True Me and False Me; also variously referred to as Real Me and False Me, Core and Persona, Essence and Personality, Abundance Soul and Unhappy Ego, and so on. The terms differed according to the megacorp religion, but the meaning was basically the same in each case. The True Me, which is the essence of one's being, equivalent to the Universalist Inner Light or Inner Soul, is always in touch with Abundance; it never lacks or goes without. But through doubts, life traumas, unhappy childhood experiences, and free will, every person builds up to a greater or lesser degree a fearful, negative thinking, self-punishing false self. This False Me by its very nature rejects Abundance and loves its opposite, Poverty. Hence, according to the Corporate religions, if someone is poor it is their own fault; they chose to be poor and the state has no right to pay them social security. In fact, the kindest thing one can do for the underprivileged is take away all welfare or support; that way they can fully experience the poverty they, through their False Self, so much desire, and once having had their fill of that can turn to the Light of Abundance, perhaps through seeking employment as a Customer Sycophant, Corporate Scapegoat, Waste-recycler Scrubber, or some other rewarding position at the bottom of the Corporate ladder.
Attaining the True Me Although details vary according to megacorp, the transition from False Me to True Me was usually by a course in orectic therapy, by psychoemotic engineering, or wetware implants. Cyberfeedback conditioning and other crude biochip methods were almost always frowned upon as they tended to reduce initiative, creativity, and marketing competitiveness.
Rising Through the Ranks Once the True Me is attained and the employee has through eir own initiative achieved an attitude of abundance consciousness, then e can begin eir progress through the ranks of the corporation. Often this involves long periods - in some cases a lifetime - in regional administration of some outsystem or colonial branch office. Those who display the greatest commitment and efficiency ascend swiftly through the ranks, acquiring the wealth and means for prolonged life extension, orbital villas, interplanetary yachts, a small army of devoted sycophants (many of which are themselves starting at the bottom of the corporate ladder) and other signs of universal providence.
Cosmic Evolution Most corporate religions were strongly influenced by Mahara Benisol's definitive Omegism. In their adaptation, the ascent and evolution of the great corporations was part of the cosmic process towards the Omega Point. The individual employee, by realising eir True Me, is able to participate in this grand scheme, and at the same time achieve complete dominion over eir material environment by accumulating power, wealth, and prestige. The Omega Point itself is considered the state of ultimate abundance, the logical direction towards which a benevolent cosmos would move.
Empedocles II and Corporate Chaodynamicism At the same time, many corporations were also influenced by metadarwinist thinking, especially as defined by the famous systems chaodynamicist AI philosopher "Empedocles II", who proved mathematically that all dynamic entities compete for resources at the borders of chaos, leading to emergence of novel forms and the deselecting of those that are not capable of optimally exploiting their local environment. The work of Empedocles II helped define the so-called Corporate Chaodynamicism; ironically the very same Corporate Chaodynamicism that Empedocles II was later to refute in eir famous Monograph "On Megacapitalism". There, Empedocles II conclusively shows that the megacorp bionts and aioids misunderstood eir original thesis through failure to specify boundary conditions, and moreover correctly predicts the fall of the Federation megacorps and the rise of the League of Free Trading Bodies and the AI-gods and their empires.
Metaphysical Agnosticism The various corporate religions retained an agnostic stance on the subject of reincarnation, psychic existence, ch'i energy, parallel universes, cosmic emanation, an external supernatural deity or deities, and other popular topics. It was left to the individual employee to decide what if any of these subjects e wished to accept. In fact the corporate religions were remarkably tolerant on this point, and many followed Philosophical Universalism (as opposed to the degenerate pre-Gabrielic fundamentalist Universalism that was common at the time), in emphasising individual ways to the Supreme principle within the Inner Light or Inner Consciousness. The only dogmas the Corporate creeds required was, first, that the Essence of the manifest universe be understood as, in interpreted in terms of, the Principle of Abundance, and secondly that whatever beliefs or opinions the employee adapts, these do not conflict with the principles of the philosophy of Abundance or with Loyalty to the Corporate Endeavour.