This 4th of July Patrick Buchanan asked if America is still a nation (1).
This question touches a raw nerve and our minds ache.
What will we do without America?
As I wrote in the first post of this series (A growing disconnect between Chinese and Westerners) "Change is assaulting our certainties as never before. The fields it affects are multiplying while its speed is accelerating and in consequence our minds are being numbed into incomprehension".
But few would ever think that these changes already imply that the technological center of gravity of the world is leaving the US. So what follows will come as a surprise to most. The reality is that China is sprinting investing all over the place while the West is broke, its societies atomized and on the verge of violent confrontations, and the interconnections between its systems are clogged like the arteries of a patient with advanced arteriosclerosis. Treating this condition is not a given and many specialists (economists, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, etc...) believe that the patient is on its death bed. It should thus not come as a surprise that year after year, month after month, the scientific news is informing us that Western technological supremacy is sifting, one sector after the other, like sand falling through the fingers.
1. Past trends that help to understand the present:
Source: “Statistics on World Population, GDP and per Capita GDP, 1-2006” by Angus Maddison, University of Groeningen. Via “The Economic History of the Last 2,000 Years in 1 Little Graph”. Derek Thompson. The Atlantic. 2012-06-19.
This graph was actualized by laodan.
Does it matter if Chinese and Western perceptions about societal reality are growing further apart? Whatever people may be thinking the fact is that this disconnect is going to have a decisive impact on how humanity's future will unfold and so I believe that those whose minds are still open and curious about the fate of humanity better watch carefully.
What is going on? People's perceptions in China and in the West are so absolutely out of sync nowadays that I feel the urge to write about this disconnect. Generally speaking people in China are optimistic about the future and they trust their political decision makers while in the West people are generally pessimistic and totally distrust their political decision makers as well as the other elites of their societies which renders them weary about the future. Am I the only one to be shocked by the intensity of this disconnect?
1. The future emerges in a given context
1.1. The quasi-Worldview of Modernity
1.1.2. Power ideologies mold the minds
In “Book 2. Volume 1. About the formation of human knowledge. 1.1. The context” I defend the thesis that the nature of reality is largely inaccessible to humanity1. I further wrote that “We better recognize, early on, the fact that the whole universe is immensely vast; so vast that its true nature is inaccessible to human reason. … Inaccessibility implies the unknown and humans don't like unknowns. They have no problems with unknown "unknowns" for the good reason that unknown "unknowns" simply don't pop up in their consciousness but they feel utterly ill at ease when faced with known "unknowns" such as those nagging questions resulting from the inaccessibility of the whole universe to the human mind. Such known unknowns become obsessions that drive people in the throat of anxiety from where they search to escape at all costs. This is how societal groupings, along our entire history, have been seen coming in the picture by proposing approximations of reality, and of what the unknown is all about, to be shared by their citizens in order to sooth their anxiety. When shared by all citizens such approximations crystallize in a societal view of the world or a worldview that all consider as being the truth of the matter and this rewards those societies with higher levels of cohesion which, in turn, facilitate their reproduction from generation to generation.”
1. The future emerges in a given context
Modernity is not a worldview in the real meaning of the term. It is a quasi-worldview. A worldview relates to a holistic narrative that all citizens can share as their own understanding about what reality is all about. In other words the ideas generated by Modernity, and the facts those ideas derive, are not weaving a holistic narrative about human existential reality. As a matter of fact nor Modernity, nor science which is its active method of inquiry, are offering a narrative about what reality is all about... In this sense we come to understand why Modernity can’t answer the existential questions that pop up in peoples’ minds and why peoples’ minds are thus filing with anxiety that isolates them in the disturbing feeling of not really belonging to their societies.
1. the future emerges in a given context
Obviously the future does not fall from the sky.
The future is resulting from the arbitration between the multiple determinant factors that are competing in the present. In other words the competition, between the multiple determinant factors in the present, is what shapes the context out of which the future emerges.
Introduction. Continued 04
The future as a probabilistic outcome
The alternatives, that are shaping in the present as potential futures, are not readily visible and so the substance of the future remains invisible to the naked eye for the majority of citizens. But it is nevertheless accessible to inquiring minds. To detect these alternatives in their very early stage, I mean at the early stage of their formation as potentialities in the present, one has to entrust the subconscious by entering states of altered consciousness.
Introduction. Continued 03,
This “Book 3” is about getting a feel of what the future has in store for humanity and more broadly what the future has in store for life on earth. The future is perceived as being unknown so it is imperative for those who want to talk about it to clarify the methodology of their approach. This is what I propose to do here after.
Introduction (continued. 2)
Confrontation, reconciliation, integration
The subconscious is accessible through altered states of consciousness and humanity, along the path of its societal evolution, has developed a certain number of techniques to reach such altered states in order to gain a deeper understanding of the working of reality and the place humans assume in it.
By confronting one’s conscious certainties with one’s subconscious visions one gets to reconcile them in a unified consciousness that is boosted at a higher level. This supplement of consciousness is then integrated within the scope of one’s conscious certainties. Mastering such a process fixes it in the mind and the resulting automatism engages an unstoppable quest for ever higher levels of consciousness. This is the path of the man of knowledge1 that opens one’s vision to what is emerging in the present as the substance of the future.
Dear patient readers,
I have started writing, these last few weeks, the first draft of "Book 3: Divination" of my series "From Modernity to After-Modernity". My experience last winter with "Book 2: Theoretical Considerations" was really exhausting. Furthermore the length of my posts and the weekly publishing I had imposed on myself resulted in draft versions that I felt were sometimes not sufficiently thought out. So I plan on a slower rhythm this winter with shorter posts (3-4000 words instead of 8-9000).
My first post, in this 2016-2017 winter series about the future, will appear on December 9th. Thinking about the future has been called divination since ancient times that's why I borrow that old word as title of the writing of this season 3 that later will become Book 3.
Summary sketch of book 2.
Life is one of the applications installed in the operating system of the universe and it emerges eventually in those of its sub-sets whose context contains all the ingredients for life to emerge.
Humanity is one of the youngest species to have evolved from such a process of emergence on earth. As all species humanity is subservient to the application of the principle of life. By that I mean that we can’t escape its rules; we are merely dancing to the tune of its music.