This is a portion of field reports containing choice entries from within our archive.
The reports have been reduced to key ideas which are now contained in Jim's published works (see Store for details).
ATTENTION: There are many pages of blog entries, to go to the next page simply click the small blue letters at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
At a recent press conference Jim Channon confirmed the four missions of the proto-mythical First Earth Battalion. He stressed that the main reason the unit exists is to profess the positive visions for the future for Armed Forces of the Planet and those independent global members who aspire to the warrior monk archetype. He reviewed the following mission elements:
BE ALL YOU CAN BE the constant work of the battalion is the integral assembly of advanced human performance skills, the paranormal, and optimal states of being.
CREATE A PARADISE ON PLANET EARTH the deliberate acceptance of the idea that this earth is totally suitable for the creation of a paradise like world and that our only real obstacle is believing that idea and acting collectively upon it.
RECOVERING THE BIOSPHERE the realization of the plan called Operation Noble Steward where all the respective military forces on the planet conspire to the recovery of our most important long range resource …our biosphere.
GLOBAL PUBLIC UNITY as a prerequisite for our final move into the next world we want to establish the need and value of a planetary citizenry that re-purposes all the institutions we have already created to operate in a progressive and sustainable global manner and achieves natural security for our planet.
After the press conference Colonel Channon cut a short you tube video called Combat of the Collective Conscience. Just go to you tube and search for Jim Channon. For other background on Jim check the wikipedia. See the new websitecreated by the cav.
Recent successes have included improving the trauma recovery skills of Army medical units like the brain rangers in Irag, sharing psy op approach plans to enter villages w/o creating collateral damage, and improving the distance sensing skills for soldiers entering danger zones using on board psi tools. We can do war another way!!!!!
Renaissance Man of the Twenty-First Century
By: Susanne Sims
Often referred to as the “Fastest Magic Marker in the West,” Jim Channon is an out-of the-box strategic visionary and a high-speed graphic illustrator. His unique combination of imagination, wit and intellect has been likened to that of Walt Disney, Jim Henson and Bucky Fuller. Channon’s career of 50 years spans the military and corporate worlds where he has developed far-reaching ideas, beauty, and conceptual tools to make Spaceship Earth a better place for us all. Jim has pioneered and perfected a specific set of skills that create an archetype for the new Renaissance Man of the Twenty-First Century. Following our interview, I summarized these primary skill sets into six categories: Eco Warrior, Social Architect, Visionary Artist, Storyteller, Renaissance Man and Global Shaman. I believe the combination of these aptitudes could be taught in a college setting as an exciting course on leadership for change agents. Enjoy ~
ECO-WARRIOR/ ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARD “Our earthly inheritance … the plants, insects, animals, geology … and our children are the lasting legacy that each person on this planet has the sacred duty to nurture and to protect. No matter what our profession, it is a matter of courage and will that each of us find a way to cultivate that sacred ground.” – J. Channon
In 1978, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, Jim announced “he worked for the planet. ” He had just published this commitment on the back cover of “Evolutionary Tactics” a field manual he created for the First Earth Battalion, a think-tank in the U.S. Army. Inspired by the human potential and advance human performance movements, Jim had conceptualized dozens of tactics that involved military units working in concert with nature. It was his version of a Whole Earth Catalog for military leaders. During the late 1980s, media maverick Ted Turner was inspired by the conversations he had with his friend Jim Channon. These conversations led to the creation of the back-story and characters for Turner’s leading syndicated environmental cartoon “Captain Planet.” The series played heavily during the 1990s and Jim’s signature cheer, “Go Planet,” was heard across the globe.
More recently, Jim has been the lead guest instructor for the SAMS course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This special advanced training program brings together the brightest and most promising officers from all branches of the American military and other allied nations. During this course Jim takes these future generals from eleven nations though large classroom exercises, purposing them to use military resources to reconstitute the Earth’s biosphere – a mission he calls “our most unavoidable global task.”
At his personal residence in Hawaii, Jim pioneers an eco-homestead and leads his twelve-member family of choice toward sustainability for 2012. On Jim’s version of “the shire” he has integrated permaculture, bio-dynamic gardening, ancient land practice, and social architecture to make the land not only self-sustaining but a heavenly experience. With physical nourishment and mental serenity as his goals Jim is unabashedly aiming high and heading for paradise in this lifetime. The primary skill set here is what he calls proto-mythology, or embedding a new idea inside a cultural setting then feeling it into being. His work is a pro-spiracy not a con-spiracy. He organizes concepts that will attract his clients to a positive future.
SOCIAL ARCHITECT Social architecture is a term Jim helped to define and popularize. Social architects are innovators of social inventions and they are concerned with how human beings interact with each other within specific environments, dwellings and in commerce. Social architecture harbors civilization. From spiritual country clubs to community recycling centers, Jim has illustrated and designed numerous new environments. This includes an award-winning green chateau in the Czech Republic, a sacred water palace in Bali Indonesia, and the renovated waterfront plan for Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. He as captured the strategic visions (development plans) for dozens of towns, districts, and special zones on the planet. In Lawton, Oklahoma he helped the town reinvent itself and create a new economic identity by conceptualizing Lawton as a global recovery center, able to respond to worldwide natural disasters and civil crises. The plan integrates the airport, warehouses, and even a university where attending personnel can train in crisis response.
The key to Jim’s success is this arena is his ability to listen to the emerging ideas of others as they are proposed and discussed in strategic sessions. He then assembles the key concepts and delivers them in a high speed, three–dimensional rendering. He can assemble dozens of ideas in one strategic design in which all participants involved see their respective thoughts in action. This skill set is unparalleled and among the 50 strategic visions he has rendered, he has received distinction as the only man on the planet to have assembled the visions of 10 of the top 100 multinational corporations. In every vision he requests the group first identify their higher purpose.
Of the many projects Jim has worked on, one of his favorites is the 80 square mile National Training Center for the army which he helped design near Barstow, California. It includes lanes and fairways where military units practice force on force engagements with non-lethal laser adapted weapons and sensors so that simulated battles can be scored with credible measures. He added fireside settings into the structure so that, at the end of the day, members of the units could gather at night to socialize and discuss their performances like athletes do improve their teamwork.
VISIONARY STRATEGIC ARTIST Jim began painting in his early twenties while in Vietnam. His exquisite oil paintings were displayed in the Army War Art Collection and the chief of staff’s office. While on combat missions, his mapping of terrain and illustrations of combat zones proved to be extremely useful. He first mapped the Viet Cong underground tunnel systems. It was this extraordinary graphic overview skill, eventually recognized at top levels, which pulled him out of the trenches and landed him in the strategic design centers of the military world. As he worked he included his mission to bring warfare to a new level of sanity. He furthered the invincible in war and persuasive in peace concept. He worked with other concepts that took a wider range of new thinking such as non-lethal weapons, peaceful interventions, and remote viewing to new levels of acceptance.
The picture machine inside Jim’s head can capture not only what he sees, but goes well beyond to include imaginary worlds and environments unseen. From unseen ideas and vaguely understood structures, Jim explains how he CAD/CAMs (rolls the idea around in his mind) until he lands on the perfect view or perspective then instantly renders it onto a large white board. “I’ve drawn automobile assembly lines after just one walk through the space,” he tells me while assuring me that this is not a photographic mind or a God-given talent but something others can do as well. “People can load images into their brain just like words,” he claims. He calls this Visual Language and has written manuals and produced videos that explain how it works.
Jim has imagined and illustrated airfoil sailing ships, folding wing dirigibles, and buildings that seem to come from a combination of “tomorrow-land” and the “shire.” He is a futurist who insists on cherry-picking the past. He engineers like a Bucky Fuller with the social charm of Jim Henson.
John Strand, a client who worked with Jim on designing a new Sprint Communications Center describes why this skill is so valuable. “What Jim can illustrate in a few hours allows a planner, for example, to initially calculate the number of work stations, count the workforce members, cost out the building requirements and infrastructure, and define the scope of the work. This allows decision-making, rapid prototyping, and concept development to proceed at light speed.” Walt Disney called this “Imagineering” where concepts could become a built reality overnight.
STORY-TELLER/PRANKSTER We have all been trained by the movie industry to desire and expect a high level of stimulation; it is almost a prerequisite to motivate us to action. For this reason, Jim adds story telling, heraldry, mythology and costuming into his bag of tricks. He creates a total immersion experience for the ideas people have decided they want to realize.
It is common, at the end of his strategic visioning sessions, for him to flip on a CD, crank up a rousing musical theme and appear suddenly in costume to tell a legend as a bold character. The legend might be about how this group of committed workers surmount the odds and push forward, united on their heroic journey to make the world’s best computer, create that healing hospital, or develop innovative strategies to get them through a downturn in their industry.
Playing with every tool he can muster –gesture, tonality, accents, humor, and even the lighting – Jim sends people on their way, inspired to fulfill their mission. He embellishes the adventure story of their upcoming success with a navigational map and a cheer to help them remember their higher purpose and their commitment. Channon takes his inspiration from Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journeywork and his foray into the magic kingdom of fairy tale and myth helps override one’s current reality and creates a psychic shift in one’s state of being. “These were their ideals, I just help them believe they are possible,” he says. One client describes Channon’s summation process as ‘riveting and motivating, leaving a lasting impression.’
Jim’s theatrical work began early in his army career when, contemplating how to dramatically make his point about “energy” being as powerful as “concepts” to a room of 1000 Army officers, he boldly played Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” while spray painting his message in fluorescent colors on a large 60 foot black lit backboard. “It was then that I realized the power of ‘out of the box’ storytelling and its use as a key piece in communication,” he recalls. “There is a huge difference between simply discussing a concept and otherwise giving people the experience of it,” he says.
His story telling grew to new heights when he flew 300 mutual fund executives by Indonesian military aircraft into the Great Western Desert in Australia and had them believe they were lost. Just before panic and sunset set in, Jim emerged in an orangutan outfit and gave them the opening to a three-day challenge course. This was six years before the show “Survivor” and reality TV. This gave the participants of Seal Corp the ‘reboot’ they needed to accept their new values and vision.
RENAISSANCE MAN (Adapted from Magical Blend Magazine) The early Renaissance in Europe was a cauldron of beliefs. While Christianity had consolidated its power during the medieval period, large pockets of pagan beliefs still thrived, and a new spirit of scientific investigation was taking hold that, when technically applied turned city states into nations and nations into empires. It was a time when the dragon, the cross, and the human mind vied for the future and stirred the imagination of a continent rethinking a thousand-year-old-paradigm. Perhaps we are overdue for another rethink of our world as a unified global civilization? “Indeed,” says Jim. “For the first time in history we are a united planetary civilization and have been for thirty years. But you cannot expect nation states to announce this, it will diminish their control.”
That hasn’t stopped the World Business Academy from pursuing such a notion. Jim has been an Academy fellow for ten years and completed the first positive vision for planet earth 100 years out. It was called PROJECT EARTHRISE. This vision is very much more a cultural vision than an economic one with the essential idea being that we see earth as fully capable of being paradise. 2000 Leaders participated in the polling on the final 12 solutions. See youtube series.
On his own three acres in Hawaii, Jim set about creating an amphitheatre in his back yard. Known as Artesia, the amphitheatre has provided his community with a venue for some 20 mini festivals. It serves as a laboratory for social inventions and was designed and built primarily with a backhoe. “Painting with tractors,” is what Jim fondly refers to when he recalls the building of Artesia. The seats, walls and stage are all terra-formed and surrounded by seven fresh water ponds. He designed the village like buildings and rooflines and made the cheerful masks that adorn them along. He even creates new costuming for each occasion.
Jim’s approach is to provide 12 to 15 layers of stimulation when putting on an event, going well beyond just the sound and lighting to include the birds, croaking frogs, wind chimes, fire pit and other natural elements. He then digs into a box to show me a dozen puppets he recently bought together with a portable puppet stage.
Where did Jim learn about stagecraft and production design? He laughs and says: “I garnered that skill first as the social chairman of my college fraternity and then later from having personally directed five different 50 man rifle platoons in the army. My voice and arms can move people or back hoes convincingly at a distance. But why is it we can’t get a degree in event production in college?” he asks.
Community venues are disappearing, he laments. It is horrifying to him that people shuffle from work, to mall, to sub-division without places for community to gather. “The renaissance happens when and where we celebrate together … in beauty …with music…with dancing. And that means everybody, not just the people on stage,” he says. When asked what a Renaissance individual is, Jim responds: Expansive, inclusive, expressive, and extra-ordinary! My personal approach is to assemble the most viscerally rewarding civilization about me and my friends while alive. It is life force living in a time of magic. It is the need to delight ourselves with the situation we are in. It is the anti-thesis of the industrial economy.” He turns on some Italian music then launches into a Michelangelo character who tells me about the Renaissance Humanists and the development of their romance language.
GLOBAL SHAMAN I asked Jim how he sees fully employing all his five skill sets and he replied: “I recently underwent a review of my life during a seven-year archiving process which turned out to be a highly satisfying pursuit. I recommend every elder take part in some kind of life review. The unexamined life is not worth living, it has been said. During this time I discovered that I had been using a similar overall strategy in all my work. To my great surprise, it turned out to be a classic shamanic practice.
Of course no one imagines they can be a shaman in the 21st Century but that’s because we have all been raised with a project manager mentality and we are stuck there simply because the Industrial Age had its way with us,” he chides. “Change Agent is as close as we get, but that job is not defined as such.” Like every shaman, his first objective has always been to discover the deep need of the organization or individual he was serving ¬– whether that be military, governmental, collegiate or corporate. Knowing their angst or unfulfilled desire, he could calculate a solution or response by soliciting and generating the answer from within them. Using whatever culturally dramatic forum he could, he was a mirror, there to present them with the life and death story of their destiny.
“The process is dynamic, instinct based, and requires the preparation of more than one solution. But what always emerges is magical and often I just need to step out of the way to let it birth itself. I like the odds. Eventually it all leads to some sort of initiation, ritual or rites of passage to assume this new identity,” he continues.
“I have now completed four positive strategic plans for our planet Earth. They are each important because each activates a different dimension of the citizenry, the institutions, and the concepts needed for the global overhaul. I’d like to take this skill set onto the world stage but I don’t know how to reach that level. The Internet is such a gift and at the same time such a hairball – it’s hard for any one person to punch thru,” says Channon.
But punch through he has and now Channon’s work is about to go very public. Jim’s First Earth Battalion is the inspiration behind a soon to be released major motion picture called “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” The movie is based on the book of the same title written by Guardian columnist Jon Ronson and it stars four of the most brilliant actors of our time: George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor. Bridges plays Channon in his role as Bill Django.
“The film is being billed as a satire and a dark comedy,” says Channon who wonders if his life’s work is about to be terribly twisted and misinterpreted. “I’ve read the script and let’s just say they took wide artistic license. You know, they gotta sell movie tickets,” he says. Early reviewers privy to the pre-release version of the movie report that they love Channon’s character, as portrayed by Bridges, and say that he is one cool dude. And that should abide well for Jim Channon as he proceeds along on his own hero’s journey.
I hope that this note finds it way to you. You may or may not remember me. It was 1981 or ’82 at Fort Lewis, WA. I was a young Captain assigned to the 9th Infantry Division OE shop & you were Lieutenant Colonel in full swing with the Test Bed. My OE partner – Paul Zerkow – and I assisted you on a couple of projects. Through the years, I’ve frequently chastised myself for not seeking you out. And I’m embarrassed to admit that it took the publicity surrounding the release of the movie to shame me into action. Please forgive me.
You should know that you were quite an inspiration to a young, impressionable officer who wanted to “be all he could be” but didn’t have much of an idea about how to go about it. So, after all these many years, I want to tell you “thanks.” You gave me many tools that were invaluable in helping me to chart my life’s path as well as the manner in which I’ve followed it – tools that I had never been exposed to before and have only rarely seen since. Indeed, I can state with complete honesty that you are among a handful of people who truly made a profound and lasting impact in my life.
I retired from the Army in 2003 as a Brigadier General after a pretty exciting and professionally satisfying run in which I felt I really had been all that I could be. Today, I run a $100M business with 2,000 employees under contract to the Army that looks very similar to a movie production company – only we produce extremely realistic Army training exercises, not movies .( seven middle eastern villages with full compliment of actors that allow deploying units to practice the conflict they will face ).
I met the love of my life in 1988 while I was one of 4 US military personnel assigned to Belize, of all places. (BTW: This was an assignment I would never had sought “BJC – Before Jim Channon.”) 22 years and four children later we are still living happily ever after – each year better than the one before on all levels.
I led the Battalion that helped extract the rangers caught by the Somali’s in Mogadishu and wrote the “supercharged Battalion” papers much like you wrote the First Earth Battalion” I’ll send you a copy and some CD’s of the training sites.
I share all of this with you not to bring credit or attention to myself but, rather, to help you understand just how indebted I feel to you. I believe that each of us is a mosaic of those whose influence has been greatest upon us. And your influence on me was of indescribable value. Thank you for giving a shit and making a difference.
With deepest gratitude and respect,
My name is Jim Channon. I am a global elder and visionary. I work for the planet. I report to the Galaxy. I am certain that paradise is possible in my lifetime. I try not to forget that I am a divine soul, as are we all, and that I am moving toward God-state at the speed of grace. I will help restore the dreamtime on this world, and want to bridge the planet to the next world. I am a protonaut for the coming ages … and I want to be all I can be.
I am a fortunate man to have lived a life in which I began to awaken during the hell of the Vietnam War. Many decades have passed, and through grace I now reside in a heavenly paradise. I praise creation for these grand experiences. In living passionately, my higher purpose, intuition, vision, prayers, and industry have been fully engaged, and have allowed me to know an authentic sense of meaning. There is great comfort in my soul, and I now have a chance to express my love fully in the sunset years of my time here.
What I have noticed is that even though we, as a modern civilization, have capitalized on our ingenuity and technology, this has occurred largely at the expense of our souls’ satisfaction. During the 20th century we went from riding horses and using hand held telescopes, to riding satellites and peering through cameras into universes, capturing the light of billions of years.
It’s strange that we now have the ability to meet with people located all over the world in virtual worlds with just the click of a finger, but we know almost nothing about love. We can fabricate things out of metal and plastic, but can hardly remember how to bring soil back into vital life. We can access 100 channels of planetary drama on TV, but remain in ignorance about our extraordinary capacity to obtain information beyond time and space. The opportunity before us is to bring those real yet still magical realities into a new experiential world of integrated creation and play.
I envision a new world created by a revolution of the heart, a state in which true inner knowing integrates completely with bodily experience. My vision encompasses a sense of expectation for combining love and play together with tools and process skills. We have conceived the essence of such a place … now we are about to fully engage living inside that reality.
Life on planet earth is a frontier of possibility, but even the simplest kinds of work, albeit with a shovel, still contain within it a primal kind of dignity. To bend over a small plot of land, place a seed into the soil for safekeeping, and then watch it come to life is one of the most under-rated experiences of creation.
While it is wonderful that we have developed ways to mass-produce food, we simultaneously robbed several generations of the privilege of creating gardens filled with living and highly nutritious plants, as well as the inner satisfaction that growing your own food provides. This planet is blessed with so much diversity, we should easily be able to eat half from our own gardens, and half from agro-business sources.
The future belongs to no tradition no matter how much power and control certain entities have possessed. National boundaries have artificially limited our ability to create together. Governments were originally social inventions intended to bring us into a higher level of democracy … but have recently degenerated into bureaucratic incest. Just walk away. They no longer deserve our respect and we no longer need carry them on our backs. The “world wide web” has already democratized society and Internet interconnectivity has become quite competent at coalescing the intelligence and skills of people all over the planet. In essence, the world has become small enough to self-govern.
The United Nations blue helmets have just completied planting the seventh billion tree in their campaign for armies to help recover the forests. We need thirty times that effort and this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the military’s role in repairing our bioregions and ultimately our biosphere. New forests will increase oxygen production for the atmosphere.
The populations within each bioregion should concentrate on making wise decisions respective of the need to protect its natural security. The armed forces would then take on the role of supporting natural security and directly by overseeing needs of the earth. Our planetary civilization unifies when its people put our earths’ needs first.
I envision a global rapture of soul love that emerges as a deeper respect for nature arises. It is a love that evokes a co-operative spirit everywhere. The commons (or “green” as it used to be called) should be revived to serve as a botanical museum that informs the populace of the best practices for each bioregion. Schools help augment our natural security at every level of study with real, dignified work: Collecting recyclables (primary school), resale (middle school), the planting of foraging forests (high school), and managing seed banks (college). Paradise is nothing but a grand landscaping job.
Service is love made real. Every person should be encouraged to ask their inner souls to remind them of the specific service they came here to provide. The dignity of such work has no parallel in deep satisfaction. Those who have the means should help those who serve the spirit as those who serve the spirit must serve those who have the means. Teachers could be selected based on their ability to inculcate service into their students, and cultivators would be given full respect.
When we focus on the work of living creatively together and re-imagine the world in love and at play, the creative IQ of the average person increases to what it could be. We develop a better understanding of creation and of beauty. We can reintegrate singing into work, and conscious breathing as a way to stay more aware.
The “world wide web” has already democratized society and Internet interconnectivity has become quite competent at coalescing the intelligence and skills of people all over the planet. In essence, the world has become small enough to self-govern.
About ten years ago I undertook an experiment to create an integral home, farm, family, shire, and botanical wonderland all on the same three acres. We are now a dozen people called family of choice, we provide for half of our food from the land, we live inside a botanical sanctuary with edible landscaping and agro-forests, dwell in little portable style homes that could easily be in a Tolkein-like shire movie, and conduct trading style commerce with the people in our town. Our love is a soulbased love which has lots of emotionally intimate moments and tons of creative explosions in our amphi-theatre and barn/loft house. We play music and sing together and we build what we need like the Amish barn raising ethic.
We also work and travel about the world as we like and communicate our findings as social architects to many thousands of people on nine websites, eighty youtube videos, skype, a facebook village of 1600, and a virtual world called second life. Our local global village is a walking town with no traffic lights, but on Friday you can eat at five places, hear music in three and dance in two, without ever moving your car. We call that a micropolitan zone. The Bhutanese approach to having a gross national objective of happiness is a lesson to us all.
The United Nations blue helmets have just completied planting the seventh billion tree in their campaign for armies to help recover the forests. We need thirty times that effort and this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the military’s role in repairing our bioregions and ultimately our biosphere. New forests will increase oxygen production for the atmosphere.
Our Armies can tend the land, the Navies tend the sea, the Marines tend the coastlines and the Air Forces monitor natural security progress with satellites and deliver emergency rescue supplies worldwide. They already have the service ethic, the organization, the transportation, the communication, the survey tools, the aerial photography, the tent cities, the people, the food, a paycheck, and most of all the will to do something difficult as a matter of challenge. Together with selected school kids as an augmenting force of hands, this global recovery campaign could take less than ten years.
While it is wonderful that we have developed ways to mass-produce food, we simultaneously robbed several generations of the privilege of knowing how to create gardens filled with living and highly nutritious plants, as well as the inner satisfaction that growing your own food provides.
Remember the Marshall plan, when soldiers from eleven nations repaired most of Europe after WWII? Well, it is a perfect lesson in recent history of just such a force in action with local civil authorities on hand to guide the work. I speak of this effort as a break-thru in beginning the massive job of unifying and repairing the Earth. It could be launched within months.
The army is perfect to head up the replanting efforts. Army officers are trained civil engineers. They could as well oversee the cutting of large canals to move rising seawater back into desert depressions that are lower than sea level. The added benefit of having high school kids in this mix is their connection to the land and the projects, and the pride of accomplishment associated with real physical efforts. Our digital kids are going to reinhabit old small farms and bring them back to life with an extended family of choice.
The navy can easily oversee fishing and simultaneously help position new seaborn hatcheries. The largest naval vessels could collect the ocean’s floating plastic and become a makeshift refinery to recycle the plastic back into fuel.
The Marines are equipped with amphibious tools and can support the recovery of the coral reefs, create the conditions for new reefs, and then attend the inland wetlands in order to preserve the life that lives there. They could also refit islands with water catchment for the specific purpose of creating sanctuaries for refugees who have lost ground by rising seas or are bereft of their homes during natural disasters.
The Air Force owns the capacity to scan the earth for all kinds of purposes related to the steady improvement of all conditions. They can help map the working areas of the ground and sea teams using a huge array of sensors. There is also a large fleet of cargo aircraft that could respond to global disasters by transporting complete refugee camps all equipped with the latest renewable energy sources to provide entertainment and education on call.
And, oil companies can deliver fresh water or other liquids besides oil. They are, after all, liquid transportation companies. In my world game plan we can manage this shift without reshuffling the population or the basic infrastructures that already exist. The secret is to involve everybody in the dream while not uprooting the industrial infrastructure that already exists and has helped us connect the world. Let’s reengage culture and nature again and take this planet straight to paradise.
WHAT IS THE FIRST EARTH BATTALION AND HOW DID IT ORIGINATE?
Post Vietnam 1978 was a time when military morale and enrollment were at an all time low. During this period the U.S. Army needed to drastically shift approaches and prepare to defeat a vastly larger Soviet force in Europe. Army leaders called upon officers to develop needed creative approaches to dealing with this challenge. They were encouraged to fully explore the Army’s Be All That You Can Be philosophy.
In response, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon created the First Earth Battalion, that collected new technologies to support a conceptual prototype of the soldier of the future. Channon was inspired by the human potential and advanced human performance movements and drew many of his ideas from these fields and from the time he spent at Esalen Institute.
Many senior generals in the Army backed Channon because he was a bold example of what a young officer could do creatively. The word spread and other elements within the Army became more boldly involved in testing ideas that were on the edge. They came to call him the “lightening rod”.
Like any endeavor that involves studying new ideas, some of the ideas panned out and others did not. The larger story is that the U.S. Army is one of the most creative organizations in the world and that it must continue to be so in order to deal with the radically different missions it must prepare for. Few people understand that reality because of the rigid prototype the media has created around military culture.
WHAT IS EVOLUTIONARY TACTICS?
Jim Channon delivered his ideas about the First Earth Battalion through his illustrated field manual, Evolutionary Tactics which offered a 21st Century vision of the soldier of the future. Evolutionary Tactics was published by the Army in 1978.
The manual was modeled after the popular Whole Earth Catalog with illustrations of advanced human performance skills. It is credited with kick-starting a very creative surge of activity in the U.S. Army. Army commanders adopted the elements that served them. There was no one cookie-cutter solution.
Original copies have become something of collector’s item. Since that time, tens of thousands of copies have been downloaded from the Internet by fans across the globe. The archetype used in the manual is the warrior monk … who is invincible in war but very persuasive in peace. We see this model in action in the middle east today. See
WHAT IS THE MOVIE “THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS” AND HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE FIRST EARTH BATTALION?
The movie evolved from a book of the same title written by British satirical writer Jon Ronson. It stars four of the most creative minds in Hollywood today: George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges and Ewan McGregor.
The title of the book and film is based on an experimental lab that once existed at Fort Bragg, NC where the military reportedly attempted to kill goats simply by staring at them. There were no corresponding approaches in Jim’s field manual.
The highly anticipated film is due out in December 2009. The movie is a comedy, much of which is inspired by Jim Channon’s First Earth Battalion because it kick-started a very creative surge in the army.
Channon is portrayed in the film by Jeff Bridge’s who plays the character Bill Django. The First Earth Battalion is known in the film as The New Earth Army a name Jim offered the producers who wanted the creative liberty of making comedy without any direct association with the actual Battalion scenarios.
HOW ACCURATELY DO THE BOOK AND THE MOVIE PORTRAY THE REAL STORY OF THE FIRST EARTH BATTALION?
Though they both claim to be based on a true story, author Jon Ronson and screenwriter Peter Straughan took wide artistic license blurring the lines between fact and fiction in order to create a somewhat dark Hollywood comedy. Here are some important facts:
• Jim Channon was never discharged from the U.S. Army. He served in the U S Army as an infantry officer and creative spark-plug from 1962 to 1982 and was in Vietnam twice 65-66 and 70-71. During his time in Vietnam, he lost just one infantry soldier and never killed an innocent civilian. He was known for his ability to imagine
and illustrate the future battlefield and its advanced applications.
Returning home from Vietnam, his goal was to find non-lethal and peaceful solutions to potentially change the shape of war as we know it and save lives in the process. His work in the military was highly respected as he was asked to present to large high ranking conferences with his most creative talents and launched a simulation and games program that is now funded at 50 million dollars a year.
• Channon retired from the military in 1982 and did not serve in Iraq. (Ronson speculated that the sound healing therapies detailed in Evolutionary Tactics evolved into torture techniques in Abu Graib or Guantanamo. This is total speculation since sounds have been used since the beginning of armed struggle to influence moral or frighten the enemy.
WAS THE FIRST EARTH BATTALION A SECRET PARANORMAL FORCE IN THE US MILITARY?
No. The Earth Battalion has acted like a think-tank collecting and reviewing advanced human performance skills from all disciplines and it still does. It was never secret although some of the spin-off ideas may have became secret once tested (such as remote viewing.) The think-tank is still active and provides advanced human performance solutions for soldiers planet-wide. It is supported by Jim’s retirement pay and has dozens of other volunteer military thinkers as part of the brain trust.
Paranormal sensibilities possessed by soldiers can increase survival rates on the modern and very complex battlefield. The goal is to create more situationally-aware combatants with a more advanced understanding of threats, allowing for peaceful incursions into dangerous areas and sparing the lives of civilians.
WHAT ABOUT THE GOAT LAB AT FORT BRAGG, DID THEY REALLY KILL GOATS THERE?
Jim says he hasn’t a clue. John Alexander another battalion member, mentioned below, says Ronson called himself a documentary film-maker
and then took extra-ordinary license with whatever he wanted.
JIM HAS LEAD TOWNS, DISTRICTS, GOVERNMENTS, CORPORATIONS IN HIS SIGNATURE STRATEGIC DESIGN PROCESS. HE CALLS HIMSELF AN OPTIMAL FUTURIST. WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Most futurists today tend to be people who communicate about what might happen in the next few years. Visionaries tend to cast images about possibilities that seem far ranging. What he does is interview leaders and scan the planet for things that are working now. Then he upgrades their potential and bundles them into socially attractive settings. So, then they become strategies that are describable and organized graphically so people may actually get at the business of creating and even constructing them. Walt Disney created the word imagineer to make the connection between visionaries and engineers. To some extent his graphics talents allow him to illustrate things that can be constructed because they are drawn in 3D. He uses a personally created advanced visual language to get this done. If you view his over 70 videos on youtube.com you will see the graphics and storywork live.
His real gift is that he has scanned the social architecture of the earth and has created bundled solutions for many parts of the coming world. His focus is on qualities of life assembled in beautiful settings. He has interviewed over 2000 leaders on their ideas of a future with a higher purpose. Those ideas have been assembled in PROJECT EARTHRISE that he created with the fellows at the World Business Academy. They are ideas projected 100 years out. We believe he may be more fluent in long range futures than anyone alive at the moment. He has an extra-ordinary set of skills.
WHERE ARE MEMBERS OF THE FIRST EARTH BATTALION AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING TODAY?
Not surprisingly many original members remain actively involved in planetary affairs. Jim Channon lives in Hawaii on an eco-homestead and has pioneered a wide range of evolutionary ideas for living. Jim is still actively engaged in envisioning the global militaries of the world coming together as a New Earth Army to deal with environmental and social problems of the future. He calls this endeavor Operation Noble Steward and has written about on his website and discussed it in his many You Tube videos. See , and .
John Alexander, the father of non-lethal weapons has just completed a major analysis of Africa and has written two books on the future of warfare. His character in the film is played more or less by the George Clooney role although there are few direct correspondences since the comedy writer needed all the creative license he could get. John’s book, The Warrior’s Edge, provided an accurate description of many of his projects that explored phenomenology. Still exploring, he currently serves as a council member of the Society for Scientific Exploration (http://www.scientificexploration.org/) and the board of directors of the International Remote Viewers’s Association (www-irva.org)
Major General Bert Stubblebine is developing a sustainable community in Panama and raising global awareness about questionable medical practices created by large pharmaceutical companies involved in Codex.
Most of the 130 some odd members of the Army’s original think-tank called Task Force Delta (where these ideas were spawned) have gone on to positions of meaningful social responsibility and other future-based technologies.