by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ April 27, 2021
While fear and complexity of the hyperobject monsters we have spawned cannot be ignored, too large a minority have committed themselves to that insanity. We will not survive without massive loss if that continues.
The majority of us are traumatized by what we see but are unable and unwilling to say what must be done beyond narrow and, often, superficial corrections. We do not have language that is acceptable to articulate the needed actions because that language seems to be a reversal of all we have hoped to achieve.
That long evolving hope goes back to the origins of the democratic system in classical Greece, best know from Athenian society, gaining its greatest extent from the European Enlightenment. This articulated the concept of human rights, public ethics, secular societies based on these rights, and civil rights for all, equally in the mid 20th century. But that hope is again under concerted attack from those who see the route to power and wealth, again, as authoritarian despots or, at least, as those despot’s stooges.
This reversal has long been a product of social failure, economic collapse through asset conquest by a small group producing uncontrolled political corruption. The values of affected societies are replaced with greed and ideals are replaced with military power. Traditional subsistence agricultural existence has been replaced with a new precariat class always on the edge of poverty. The only route away from that is joining the imperial forces of conquest in imagination if not in reality.
We are very familiar with the language and the actions because we watch and read these things every day. Our entertainment is the brutal destruction and removal of people who have become a problem. We celebrate violent victories as our primary form of entertainment. In post-modern culture, there is nowhere to go to escape villains and heroes with any goals beyond winning.
But that is only fiction, TV, or film and not real life. But a large portion of our population, not limited by ethnicity or culture, has lost that distinction. Those of us who feel we can make that distinction are horrified that what must be done for our species to survive is what will destroy that distinction and, ironically, complete our self-destruction.
We have been here before. The 20th century introduced us to this dark irony. “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” is a famous quote from the Vietnam War that may have been apocryphal in its most famous setting but captured the absurdity of the American military mission. At the start of the 20th century: “The American flag has not been planted on foreign soil to acquire more territory but for humanity’s sake.” ~ William McKinley. Manifest Destiny justified it all.
Throughout most of human history killing them all was a workable solution if the balance of power allowed it to be implemented and the groups involved were small enough and isolated. The largest scale that could be achieved was the European colonial conquest of the Americas over four hundred years.
While the historical accident of Western science and technology was a major force it was successful only because of geographic isolation allowing Eurasian disease to wipe out up to 90% of the indigenous population. This produced the tragic hubris of American exceptionalism because the indigenous civilizations could be erased from memory.
The winners of the horrible conquest are now being torn apart by the distorted memory of that success. Consequences are far more complex than we ever realized and we are facing the shock of descendants of those who believed those lies now willing to believe any lie that reinforces their delusional world.
Failure to understand your past produces irrational thinking, deep-seated guilt, and the resultant fear of cultural revenge none of which can be articulated because it never happened. But it did and billions of people know it. The chasm that results means no communication is possible on something so horrible that it is difficult to grasp by those who know and impossible to admit by those who choose not to know.
In mid 21st century America, anxiety builds and there are no solutions. Because we cannot face the reality that we must destroy much of Western civilization and almost all of American culture to survive, the powerful scramble for absolute power with the opposition of groups committed to only palliative fixes is allowed.
The problems for this in the American political disaster are obvious. The majority that has some grasp of reality and the historical implications as well as the planetary consequences that are their own hyperobjects, know that the patches and bandaids will not hold. You cannot fix paradigmatic structural collapse with gauze and adhesive tape. You can slow the bleeding in some areas and relieve the pain for some but only at the cost of ignoring the extent of fatal damage.
America’s great anxiety with Biden was that he would blindly insist that treating symptoms was good enough but he went beyond that. The reality of failing concepts, once clearly understood, demands action. Knowledge of the extent of the damage forces a massive escalation in the scope of the solution. As you work to identify the damage the futility of what you set out to do becomes obvious.
We are at the point, not just in America, but throughout the nation-state structure of our planet, that triage replaces first aid. The fear is unavoidable that isolation of portions of societies will be needed and amputation of failed states and provinces will be required.
But the analogy to physical injury also fails. Pandemics are psychological and social also. The sickness spreads and is promoted by those committed to greed and power. How do we limit and work to remove that?
Our need is for hard solutions that are rationally managed to prevent the cure from becoming worse than the disease. Human history is not promising. Power corrupts people and that is a major part of our failure to keep our societies out of the hands of those with no knowledge of our history and a deadly disregard for known consequences in their pursuit of power and immense wealth.
That change will require a planetary restructuring that moves the rules for rights, environmental control, and resource management to the planetary level while moving government, as we know it, to direct democracy at the local/metropolitan administration level while eliminating superfluous regional government layers dominated by political corruption.
The current dysfunctional federal government in America is a product of the schizophrenic state of non-representative, representative government. I think a generally agreed change will be one term limits on all representative bodies with rigid non-partisan controls on administrators at the planetary and local metropolitan level.
I think this will only become possible when AI becomes self-auditing to avoid human failings and direct democracy becomes a product of a free educational system. People must be educated for self-administration.