- Arnold Bennett (British novelist, playwright, critic, and essayist, 1867-1931)
In the last few blogs, we’ve been discussing political maturation in the West. It’s been a crazy ride! It’s sometimes a fun exercise to contemplate the course history has taken this particular culture and what’s in store, a little brain candy. And of course, this blog and THEE tend to avoid details but rather, they focus on the larger scope, the grand arch of social and political motion through history--hence the name, “The Big Picture.”
When we left, the West had made the transition from Plutocratic Pluralism to Conventionalism. After Conventionalism comes Transcendentalism, then Communalism, and finally Participative Pluralism. I considered continuing this series to include these socio-political modes but decided against it as they are quite speculative and still but a distant glimmer in the West’s future, close enough to imagine but likely nothing anyone reading this will ever experience. However, I highly encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about what characterizes these modes and what they may look like to explore them further here on the THEE website.
Instead, I thought I would just decompress, debrief a bit about how my thinking and writing about this topic has affected me. It has definitely had an influence, and that’s great. I consider it very encouraging that I can notice a shift in myself and my way of thinking. Any honest inquiry can only be undertaken with true openness and willingness to put aside one’s pre-conceived notions, biases, and prejudices.
THEE has a way of speaking to you. It might not say something specifically, but will plant a seed with far-reaching implications in your mind. WK, THEE’s creator once wrote me in regards to THEE inquiries, “It is possible you will find certain topics uncongenial/difficult for some inner reason… It is a feature of THEE. Working on it is a bit like looking into a mirror.”
I did indeed find things that were disagreeable initially. As an American with strong ties to Europe, I had always thought of the next step in our political maturation as something towards a more developed social welfare state. I thought that humanities ills were only curable with strong oversight. I thought that the role of government was to take care of its people. This is blind idealism. It would be nice, in a perfect world, I suppose.
This particular THEE inquiry has made real for me the old saying, “Power corrupts, and ultimate power corrupts ultimately.” We cannot even fault our politicians for their corrupt ways. What else would anyone do in their position? They have numerous incentives to continue their corruption and increasing their powers in the name of “social welfare” only gives a larger, more complex, and less transparent mechanisms with which to practice their corruption.
I saw recommendations in THEE such as dissolving central banks and I thought in horror, “How would we regulate our currency? How will we compete globally? What about my economy and my place in it? We’ll be slaves to the amount of gold we can extract from our mountains!” Then I came across this: “Psychosocial Reality is in Control: When values and institutions of a particular mode have not yet emerged within a society, it is almost unthinkable that they could ever exist.” Follow the link for more context, but the point is this:
All of this is going to change--and probably sooner than later. This society that we all depend on, that we all work so hard in to succeed and advance, is transient. We tend to think that everything goes on the same forever even though all of history says otherwise. I recently read that the Mayans predicted that in the year 4772 AD, people would be celebrating the anniversary of the coronation of their great king Pakal. Who’s that?
Our monetary system may fall apart, our government may collapse, and our global economic position may slide to one notch above Zimbabwe. Who knows about specifics? One thing is certain: the current state of the West will not, cannot continue as is. But through it all, people will just carry on. They will weather this social/political transition just as their ancestors have weathered every social/political transition in history (and there have been many). So in a strange and frightening way, it’s all going to be OK.
- Tom Kershaw
- Hi! I'm Tom and I am a full-time writer, musician, and father to a firecracker of a four year-old. My wife and I lease our house and cars from her in hopes that her considerable talents of mess-making, princess-impersonation, and stuffed animal-whispering will pay off and fund our eventual retirement in the south of France.
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