Life Without Middlemen
Michael Haupt

« Happiness thrives when nobody tries to control »

Papu New Guinea — (Source Corazza)

Nice postcard. But I would place several bits & pieces in different order. Which would bring other questions to address. Probably.

I had to ‘’manipulate’’ the concepts in order to understand why I simultaneously agree and disagree.

Over a half a century ago, I lived near central African Animist tribes. Several decades later, I read some of the few things I learned from them, written in books from anthropologists, who were looking at Native societies from other continents.


With this in mind, I was surprised with two things in the postcard :

FIRST, the postcard « stage 5 » sounds to me as the « stage 1 » of Native Animist people.

For us, these people look very miserable. But when we talk with them, we understand that their life is very fulfilling, and they consider it « is the only one worth living ». (that was before we destroyed their societies…)

Clearly, they do not think like us.

Far more than Technology or Communication, the key is their Vision of the World : most of these tribes considered that the world has been created by a God who retired afterwards in a remote place where he still rests. They believe that each (living & non-living) « Being » has a spirit which deserve respect. One will apologize to the spirit of the animal killed. And to the vegetables as well.

Mankind is a family of living beings which stands among all the other beings. All are at the same level. Their Vision of the World is Horizontal.

Instead, our Judeo-Christian Western societies are structured Vertically : God >> Men >> (living & non-living) Resources. Only men have a spirit/soul.

Men can exploit the “available Resources”. The Economy works with the same logic.


SECOND, the « economic life » -as we call it- does not exist for Native Animists. Therefore, they should not appear in the « stages list » !

Within their societies, each individual has a social role. Bringing food from a ‘’garden’’ or hunting or creating hunting weapons are social activities (not ‘’jobs’’). And things are shared, as nobody owns anything significant.

The tribe « Chief » has the role to represent the tribe, and talk for them. There are no significant differences in standard of living between the « Chief » and the others. Except some symbolic objects, which he will give to his successor.

Most of the Postcard « stages » are somehow linked with Ecomonical efficiency in exploiting the « Resources ». It would appear that this list of « stages » belongs to a Vertical Vision of the world.


I now come to the Postcard « Summary » : the move from Hierarchical Structure to a more Horizontal-like social Structure.

My feeling is that a Social Structure within which everyone feels good must be backed by a set of shared Values and Ethics, the roots of which are nourished by specific common Beliefs.

A horizontal vision of the world is very different from the vision of a vertical one. And we are sub-products of the Vertical world.

My feeling is that we cannot individually decide to pick & choose our Beliefs & Value in the Horizontal world and embrace them >>> and then structure our social actions accordingly.

We will always have problems changing from within who we are, in order to move to another way of life, which we are not really able to imagine (because we always see a future world through today’s eyes/ logics).

Change means confrontation of ideas. Our future will not be easy nor happy, as « Happiness thrives when nobody tries to control »