by Mike Meyer
What is this is the descent into a dark age. We think this cannot be as such descents were signs of failure and ignorance and could be laid at the feet of partially civilized people with too few well enough educated to prevent that, to us, a mindless disaster. This can’t happen in the modern world.
Our model is the European dark ages at the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The violent barbarian hordes descended on Rome that, due to corruption and economic stagnation, had become unable to defend itself externally and internally. The result was a collapse into feudalism with warlords building hilltop fortifications and people selling themselves to these strongment for protection from all the others.
A thousand years of violence, ignorance, disease, and squalor was the result. We know what this was like because Monty Python showed us in movies with the peasant who decides Arthur must be a king “because he hasn’t got shit all over him like the rest of us”.
We don’t think these are things that we need to worry about. But I’m becoming more and more worried that this is exactly what we are seeing. Ignorance, corruption, stupidity and unbelievable bigotry and hatred, that is what we are seeing every day. An idiot with a horde of supporting barbarians has been allowed to take over the government of the richest nation on the planet. These people seem diseased and to have lost all knowledge of the last three hundred years.
If you know some history the analogies are stunning. Rome was one of the two most powerful civilizations of the day. Han China was the other. Between them they ruled the two hemispheres. The Graeco Roman civilization is the foundation of the modern world through Western domination. The Roman Empire survived in some form all the way to 1918. Many people do not realize that. The British Empire and American Empire are its descendents. And now we are collapsing into chaos and confusion just as Rome did in the fifth century.
How did that happen? We don’t know. It should not have been possible but here it is. For the first time in modern history American IQ scores are going down. People are loudly claiming the planet is flat and science is a lie. The bizarre claim that the greatest accomplishment of humanity in going to the moon was fake. Only power matters. And the people doing this are becoming ever more ignorant with shorter life spans already showing up among Trump’s followers.
Our commentators and pundits are frantically announcing that nothing has really changed. This is just a little aberration that will be, only, an embarrassing footnote in American and modern world history. Yet the civilization of the lead modern nation is being destroyed by the day. Racism is now the theme of the nation’s government. Ignorance is king. And no one knows what to say or what to do.
A modern nation built on the concept of open borders and an invitation to the world’s poor and hungry to find a new home that would allow a path to well being and happiness, has just, illegally, denied access to all refugees. Unless you are white and male you are nothing. Yet the tremendous success of the United States was based on totally open immigration in the 19th century. That is what made the first half of the 20th century able to industrialize for two world wars and ten years of sponsored reconstruction following those events. America built the modern world in the 1940s and 50s with the power of the most diverse population in modern history.
We know that genocide and racism is the foundation of the American experiment but the ideals were to get beyond that. We struggled for two centuries to achieve that and failed but most continued to struggle on. Now the highest officials of this country can denounce the very essence of the founding of the nation. And no one questions this from any position within the party in power.
Our media reports this simply as a quote. “Trump told members of Congress to go back to their shithole countries. Their country is this country but that’s what he said. Some people suggested this might be racist but others denied that.” End of story.
The history of the European Dark Age highlighted above is grossly inaccurate but reflects, I think, the essence of what is generally envisioned. Those stupid people made a stupid choice and they paid the price. They were nothing like us.
It was, historically, a much more complex process and, at the time that we consider Rome to have fallen the people in Rome thought it was a relatively minor problem. They didn’t know they had ‘fallen’. It only slowly became apparent that ignorance was in control and all that was left were people pretending to hold positions and unable to actually do much of anything except struggle to survive. That sounds disturbingly familiar to America in 2019.
I’ve begun to think that we are missing something very large here. There are forces influencing human society in these times of rising ignorance and crudity. We have begun to understand that these archetypal forces and patterns are much larger than we have allowed ourselves to think. We have gained tremendous wealth and power by severely limiting our focus to the physical world as defined in the Western tradition.
But to do that we had to deny vitality to almost everything but us. We had to remove ourselves from the universe into a separate position distinct from the reality of ourselves that has long been understood to be an illusion except in the Western world. And our scientific physical focus has now shown us, in a scientific way, the arbitrariness of the things that we thought were absolute. Physical reality is a much an illusion as any of our stories. Not only is our physical world fundamentally relative but may only be an idea that is generated by the universe as a vital agent of which we are a part with the self illusion of being, ourselves, distinct vital agents.
This is not just idle philosophy now. This may be an aspect of our life as sentient beings that is very important at this stage because a portion of our population is being pulled into a self destructive darkness by forces within us that we cannot control but now must quickly learn to understand. We didn’t think this kind of thing actually happened but now we are clearly at risk.
It appears we are fighting a dark force of evil that has appeared and is trying to take control. That is why we have such difficulty in even accepting what is happening let alone understanding how this came to be. This is not logical and is the stuff of the old myths that are believed by those, ironically, that seem to have given themselves up to this evil. For the majority this is stuff of our beloved apocalyptic tales and entertainments. But neither form of these things is supposed to be real.
The problem may be that we have denied ourselves the ability to recognize and name evil which can, at certain times, be a greater force than simply ignorance, greed or moral failure. No this is not religion as that is, itself, only a shadow or reaction to this force. We are not dealing with mythology which are the ancient stories and efforts to anthropomorphize these forces. Our scientific methods have brought us to the level we are beginning to see a far wider range of forces that are around us and define our actions. But we have to rediscover older language to educate ourselves.
These are much more like the forces of physics and planetary motion. We simply didn’t recognize these for what they were. In the Western world we allowed these to be kept with mythologies and rituals to give our scientific system the freedom to work without having to deal with all of our mytho-religious baggage. Our success shows the value of that rejection of failed explanations.
But now we are having to quickly deal with both the reality of our physical materialist focus in the climate crisis and the logical recognition that there are more forces in our universe than we allowed ourselves to scientifically explore. Parts of our population are again at the mercy of resurgent forces that we thought were illusions. They weren’t. They had simply been ignored and forgotten in the rush of success at finally learning to control the most obvious macro levels of our universe.
Now we need to learn to understand, read, and control the effects of all the forces that are part of us. And that is hard. We need to change the language we use and redefine the meaning of almost everything while fighting off the tides of darkness that have become very real.
We are seeing that now coming together in very new patterns of understanding. In the quantum mechanical universe, as our understanding grows, we are reconnecting to all the life arounds us and the need to accept alignments that affect how we think, feel, and act. Whether we can be creative or too frightened and confused to act. These things are tied to our physical perceptions and the subatomic universe with which we are interwoven as sentient agents in a vast web of vital agents at different levels of power and sentience.
This is much broader and deeper paradigmatic change than we bargained for. We need to change actively and effectively if we are to survive our own mistakes and to prevent those of us swept up in the dark forces of denial that could bring the final darkness on our species.
We are actually in a battle to prevent the dark forces from destroying us and our planet. Realizing that makes much of this far stranger but easier to understand. We’ve been reading and watching this story for the last century in preparation.