A note to readers, from 'The Webs of Varok'
“Everything not forbidden is compulsory.” This socially abhorrent command was written above the entrance to ant tunnels in T. H. White’s Once and Future King. In the larger context of cosmology and evolution, it becomes a comforting and exciting thought. Our brains are not yet wired to appreciate what an average of 300 billion stars times 170 billion galaxies means. With such numbers, there is probably life we could recognize somewhere out there, with problems we could also recognize.
In The Webs of Varok, we humans living on the 21st century Earth are not alone in the solar system. On an undiscovered moon of Jupiter lives an intriguing mix of aliens too intelligent, too friendly and too nosy to be ignored. Their home is called Varok.
Though stable, Varok is no utopia. Nor is it a dystopia. It reflects reality as we humans experience it—and is unlike any current social or political system on Earth.
The kind of economy modeled on Varok was defined by Herman Daly in the 1970s and and is currently summarized by the New Economics Institute and New Economics Foundation in the UK and the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy on steadystate.org. The model suggests humane ways to assure lasting, equitable quality of life on Earth.
Many lives are at stake. If we are not to be found guilty of abdicating responsibility, we must find long-term solutions to ensure human population stability and to reduce the overuse that has led to current massive suffering.
—Cary Neeper, 2012