Driving us toward a climax nobody wants to think about are three global trends: the mounting risk of nuclear war; faster than expected approaching climate catastrophe; and the ever-growing gap between the rich power elites and everybody else.
Each trend, each dynamic, by itself, left unchecked, points toward civilization crashing. The three trends, chugging away at the same time, can only amplify each other exponentially. And at the moment all three are gaining momentum. As the world appears to be evolving today, things may have to play themselves out before any real possibility of improvement.
When I try to imagine what it will take to stop, no less reverse, these trends from overtaking us, I draw a blank. None of the familiar recipes seem up to the job. Rational and moral appeals, however loudly and passionately aired, seem unlikely to have any impact on the powers that be, the banks, the lobbies, their partners in the government, and so on.
What then to do? Massive public, non-violent protests remain a viable path, as advocated by Chris Hedges, but how far will it get against a surveillance-saturated, super-militarized American police force? Resistance is possible and real but who is really listening? Arguably, there are more reasons not to listen. As Helen Caldicott puts it in her new book, we seem in fact to be “sleepwalking to Armageddon.”
Something drastic is called for to wake us up--dome kind of a mental shock, something to counteract the momentum, which is increasing, toward disaster. After the atomic bomb, Einstein said, everything changed. Without, he said in a memorable phrase, “a substantial change in our manner of thinking,” we are a doomed species.
We may after all be in the last stages of American civilization. Cultures and nations are organic entities. Born, they mature and eventually die. The sign of a social entity dying is loss of sensus communis--the shared values basic to a community. With few signs of this shared sense of things in America today, conflict is rife, with each person thinking the other is a foot soldier of the Antichrist.
The sign of the oncoming collapse of a nation, said Vico, is “the deep solitude of spirit” that pervades social life. Loss of communal sense feeds off the “barbarism of reflection,” a perfect phrase for the current crisis—it refers to the rampant manipulation of truth for the sake of private gain and personal status.
Some will think it a desperate speculation, but the present careening toward worldwide chaos may in the end instigate a metaphysical revolution, a collective alteration of consciousness, perhaps by virtue of some miraculous genetic mutation. The famously transformative near-death experience seems like the sort of thing that on a large scale might turn the tide of consciousness, and put the brakes on Armageddon. Something altogether new is necessary, as Einstein said, a substantial change in our manner of thinking. These are words that need to be inked into the fabric of twenty-first century consciousness; it’s about time that we start a crash-course in the re-education of the human race.
(For further discussion of these ideas, see my The Final Choice: Death or Transcendence? (2017), available on Amazon.
'Snakes in Suits', Babiak and Hare - how high-functioning psychopaths rise up the ranks in the workplace.
'Without Conscience', Hare - an excellent basic primer in psychopathy.
'Women who love psychopaths', Sandra Brown - observations based on what targets of psychopaths experience.
'The origins of totalitarianism', Hannah Arendt - complements 'Political Ponerology' e.g. describing the 'ideological mask'. She was unaware at the time she wrote of the underlying 'hysteroidal cycle' or the pathology of the pathocrats, but got close many times.
You might find the wordpress blog 'Good Marriage Central', by Elizabeth Mika (trained as a clinical psychologist) interesting. She wrote a chapter in 'The dangerous case of Donald Trump', reprinted on her website at goodmarriagecentral.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/tyranny-as-a-triumph-of-narcissism/
Awareness of psychopathology is growing, as illustrated by LoveFraud, the blog on SafeRelationshipMagazine (Sandra Brown, mentioned above) and the very busy forum on OutOfTheFog.
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