Here’s a question: To what does “The Twentieth Man” refer? – Amy
On the Internet I’m known as The Twentieth Man. In Internet parlance this pseudonym (false name) goes by many other names:
Sometimes it’s called an Account Name.
Sometimes it’s called a User Name.
Sometimes it’s called a Username.
Sometimes it’s called a User.
Sometimes it’s called a Screen Name.
Sometimes it’s called a Screenname.
Sometimes it’s called a Tag.
Sometimes it’s called an Alias.
It is my On Line Persona and flows historically from the pre-computer era and the desire of some to remain anonymous in order to protect their privacy, safety and reputation. The use of an alias is a deliberate attempt to deceive others through the use of a name other than one’s own true given name. “The Twentieth Man” is not a true alias in that it is not a believable person’s name. Not like John Doe, Mary Roe, or even Henry Smith for that matter. From ancient times writers have dodged criticism, condemnation and retaliation for their works through the use of Pseudonyms (in Greek – false name) or a Nom de Plume (in French – pen name). In more modern times, among Shortwave or Citizens Band radio users (Ham/CB Radio) one may have and be known by a Handle.
The use of a Moniker on the Internet surely did not originate with me. I felt I had to make something up. I assumed it to be a security protocol and a necessary requirement of Internet use but find it to be less than secure, as some websites, after insisting upon taking your real name and replacing your passwords with encryption bullets (those over-sized periods or dots), they then just casually cough up your real name and password in plain text for all the world to see. (Password – Bullets)
“The Twentieth Man” is not an Avatar as an avatar is a non-alpha-numeric graphic image, photo or representational character.
In choosing “The Twentieth Man” as a user name I assumed it had to be other than my own real name and something unique, but also something that revealed something of my personal identity and place in the cyberspace cosmos. I am both cultured and civilized. I am manplus (man +). Some people taught me how to read and to write and I am therefore literate. If I were illiterate I would just be a man, but as I gained these skills I have been added to; I am thus manplus. Culture edifies, builds up or adds to a person. Culture generally flows from the ambient environment and from the ground up but it is also often a deliberate act on the part of adults to positively improve their children and their children’s lives. Culture can be both learning and teaching with the positive intent of making a person’s life easier and better; longer and safer. Culture embraces socialization, thus improving society in general. Culture is knowledge acquired. Culture is knowledge gained about our relationship with the things and people around us. Culture is knowing which plants are are edible and which are poisonous or which animals are dangerous and which are benign. Culture is knowledge gained about our relationships to father and mother, brother and sister, and may be summarized by the words family or familiarization. Civilization on the other hand, and as differentiated from culture, goes beyond personal edification and our positive familial relationships with those around us into that of A Social Order; our relationship, knowledge of and interaction with, those people other than family; and not always to our benefit, betterment or personal gain.
Civilization is a pyramid scheme. If one were to symbolize civilization, that symbol would be a pyramid. A pyramid is a construction far beyond the capacities of a single man, or even an extended family. A pyramid thus symbolizes the organization and subjugation of the many individuals wills to a common will or purpose. Pyramids and other such monumental constructions are found the world over. They are found in various stages of construction, abandonment and decay. Archeologists debate their origins in terms of the tools used and methods of construction. But what of their origins in terms of Order and Social Organization? How does a civilization start? How is it maintained? A pyramid clearly evinces a social hierarchy that transcends family bonds. Along with the great stones that comprise a pyramid there was also a parallel but less tangible, if not to say invisible psycho-social pyramid that built it. This now invisible human pyramid had its own origin. Who, or what was it that started it all? And again. How is it maintained? And how and why, as a matter of historical fact, do all civilizations eventually collapse?
The underlying theme of all human organization is one of dominance. The human ego relentlessly seeks to dominate all. The individual ego seeks to dominate all those around him (or her) and is universally expansive in that it desires to conquer and control absolutely everything: the earth, the weather, life, and even Creation itself. You want to be God.
Consider the wolf pack. A lone wolf is nominally a capitalist, preying upon those who are weaker than himself. But there are economic advantages to becoming a part of a cooperative hunting pack. The wolf pack is a dynamic socialist hierarchy but the order of the hierarchy is determined internally by capitalist means. The order of precedence within a wolf pack is determined by violent confrontation and enforced by threat or terror.
Consider further the catchphrase: “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.” Sheep are nominally socialist or herd animals, moving more or less as one and keeping watch over each other. The individual civilized human is schizoid in that he or she is unsure when to be a socialist sheep or when to be a capitalist wolf in order to move up (or risk being knocked down) in the order of precedence within that society.
Individuals seek to dominate individuals, thus forming a society. Societies, once formed, seek to dominate other societies, thus forming the greater civilization or Social Order.
One may define politics as the dynamic interplay of various and more or less cohesive groups. We can call them a Special Interest Group, a Society, an Organization, an Association, a Gang, a Movement or an Army. They come by many names and are often oppositional, redundant, polarized, interfering to the point of negation, radical, etc.; but they all fall within the shadow of the umbrella organization that is commonly referred to as Civilization.
Above all, brutality is the historical cornerstone of civilization. Whether we’re talking about the ancient sociopathic troglodyte dominating by personal strength and brute force all those around him and they, in turn, accommodating him; or a fully armed and disciplined military or the modern mercenary police force, courts and lawyers; in the final analysis it all boils down to respect for the bailiffs shackles and especially, his gun. Civilization is organization by threat or use of force. It is terrorism. Walled cities came into existence as a defensive response to the external threat imposed by roving gangs of cut-throat thieves, but inside those walls the discipline, organization, and maintenance of the order of precedence represented an internal threat that was just as brutal.
Like iron wrought between hammer and anvil, we are shaped by the fears imposed by those who would dominate us (internally) held up against the fears imposed (externally) by foreign threats.
“The Twentieth Man” is an historical reference to an internal form of discipline. From pre-historic times prisoners were taken as slaves and oftentimes forced by threats from the rear to fight their master’s enemies in the front ranks. These conscripts would often desert at the first opportunity. Decimation was a common form of military discipline wherein deserters were rounded up, lined up, counted off by ten, and the tenth man was then executed; thus teaching the survivors a terrible lesson. While decimation pre-dates even The Roman Empire it was actually last suggested in WW I.
My father once told me “Get a job and hold on to it, because there’s seven guys standing in line outside waiting for it.” That left me wondering where those guys came from. (Employment means: to use.)
On any given day throughout the whole of our lives (and you can check the data) unemployment in the United States runs at about 5%. As far back as the Labor Department has kept official records (about 1954) unemployment has averaged 5%. If the unemployment rate dips below 5%, The Federal Reserve raises the Prime Rate to slow the economy. This maintains a surplus of labor and keeps the Labor Market in Buyer’s Mode. Unemployment is therefore maintained at around 5% or, 1 man in 20.
For example: There are 72 counties in the State of Wisconsin, and all have roughly the same Unemployment Rate. Individual ambition, effort, freedom and chance would dictate otherwise.
We are civilized by the fear of unemployment: the terror of hunger and homelessness.
“You’re Fired!” – Donald Trump
In comparison with past civilizations, the current civilization is relatively genteel and subtle, but not by much. Instead of being decimated (1 in 10), we’re vicesimated (1 in 20). Instead of openly practicing human sacrifice we allow desperate men in desperate circumstances do the killing. A phrase from my college days stuck with me: “… an acceptable level of crime…” Practically everything politicians do (at all levels of government) serves to provide and maintain an artificial surplus of labor. The idea is to maintain the Labor Market in Buyer’s Mode and the leverage to exact profit; and since I’ve been unemployed most of my life, I’m THE TWENTIETH MAN. As hard as it is to make such an admission, a long time ago I was given some advice and that was to “just be yourself”. I make no pretense of being other than who I am. I don’t put on airs or project a false image of myself. My personal history is just as convoluted as anyone’s out there. While we have much in common we are also unique. You may well sit in judgment and think me a failure because I’m not rich and famous but I’m old enough and smart enough to know that, given some real-life situations, simple survival is sufficient proof of success.
Historically, all civilizations fail because all civilizations practice human sacrifice in some form.
In being THE TWENTIETH MAN you are alone and yet not alone. Unemployment is Government Policy and THE TWENTIETH MAN is the very foundation and cornerstone of this or any other civilization. Without us civilization would collapse. Put yet another way: who will clean our toilets? Who will die for us in war? Nobody likes to clean toilets and nobody wants to die; and unemployment, homelessness, hunger, etc., and all the stress and fear that goes with it is the leverage used to compel both.
As you know, I’ve been chronically unemployed my entire adult life. So too, have millions of other men. I’ve had plenty of leisure in which to ponder these things.
5% is equivalent to one man in twenty.
Surely, I would not choose it, but I know who I am:
I’m The Twentieth Man
In Latin: vicesimus vir