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.
It is indeed only after they have already emerged as selected future alternatives that conscious observation will possibly detect them. The fact of the matter is that the substance of these alternatives is being formatted inside the context that is shaping in the present which means that, while this context has still not been substantiated yet, future alternatives are already forming in the midst of the presently forming context. This whole process remains largely hidden to conscious observation and its visibility will only arise with its substantiation.
In summary the potentiality of the future is contained in the context that is taking shape in the present. But only the augmented perception, gained by the minds of those who dare to confront their conscious with their subconscious and vice-versa, opens their consciousness to these alternatives that are starting to shape in the present context as the potential future. In practical terms this implies 3 things for the human condition:
A few inescapable conclusions
The most pressing question of our time, I feel, relates to the distinction between scientific knowings and knowledge in the sense of a worldview that can possibly be shared by all. The fact of the matter is that to make sense out of the contemporary transition from Modernity to After-Modernity we need to be able to distinguish the grain from the chaff within the brouhaha that assails us daily. From the get go we observe the following:
What to do?
I’m a realist, and as I stated here above, I consider that the future is not a given. But I recognize that, even if we knew with total certainty that the future outcome for the human species was extinction, we still would have no other alternative but to live till extinction occurs. What I mean to say here is that the darkness of the potential outcome of Power and Modernity has to be balanced by the beauty of life itself. We have no other valid choice but to live… so why not live as happily as we can by offering our thoughts and actions as gifts to the others around us. I see the predicament of living with this knowledge as the best of reasons to definitively abandon “taking” behaviors in favor of “giving” behaviors.
During the last five to ten Milena power societies have imposed “taking economies” on all of us and the result has been a few thousand years of misery for “we the people”. Why should we not try to practice the “gift economies” that were the way non-power tribal societies produced their inter-personal exchanges? What can we lose? For sure we would lose the ideology of power but who is going to miss power? In return we would definitely gain the tribal happiness of living in abundance that was the “primitives” life condition. Who is going to object to that9?
I repeat again.
What the future has in store for humanity is not a given. There can be no absolute certainty about the outcome before it has been substantiated as reality. Aliens, or god, could eventually free us from our hubris ; is it not? But putting all speculation aside the fact is that the contours of the future are definitely being sketched in the context forming in the present. What this means is that the alternatives, which are gaining their substance in the context forming in the present, leave us the possibility to mold the scenarios at work within the probabilistic process that leads to the outcome of the future. In other words, whatever the darkness we detect, by dressing our dreams and visions of the future in the beauty radiating from life we engage in a scenario that could make beauty come true. This Book 3 is conceived as a narrative about such kinds of scenarios. By living, our dreams and ideals of the future, in the present we are weighing on the probabilistic selection of the future outcome that is most favorable to our species and as such I believe that dreaming has become the highest moral imperative of Late-Modernity.
Writing is an exercise at making sense, in my own mind, of my thinking about the present condition of humanity. And since the writing is there I share this exercise as a gift to whomever might be interested to read. I have nevertheless come to terms with the fact that in the age of Twitter very few of my readers will have taken the time to read through the entirety of my posts in this series about the transition “from Modernity to After-Modernity”. I wrote these posts over the last 2 winters as an answer to a deeply felt urge for sense about what societal evolution and the arts are all about. I copy-pasted the content of these posts in book format. It now totals some 1350 pages… This testifies to the otherworldliness of my writing with the universe of Twitter that I just mentioned.
These book-covers are an illustration of the organization of the content of my posts in book form:
Humanity’s presently forming context contains the potentiality of its future. This is the substance of the scenarios that I plan to narrate in this book. But, in light of my Twitter remark here above before plunging in such scenarios, I want to offer the reader a sketch refresher on the determinant factors, that are shaping the context emerging in the present, as I have been laying them out exhaustively in Book 1 and Book 210.
1 Xieyi painting or “ink and wash painting” is called shui-mo in Chinese. I personally define it as “writing down the true meaning behind what is being observed by the eyes”. This school of painting is often referred to as "literati painting". It originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-906) and is one of the “four arts” that were practiced by the Chinese scholars or mandarins who were gentlemen educated to eventually officiate as the bureaucrats in charge of the decision making process within the state machinery of the Chinese empire. These 4 arts are – “guqin” which is a stringed musical instrument, – “qi” or the strategy of the game of “go”, – “shu“ or Chinese calligraphy, – “hua” or Xieyi painting. Having been educated to execute political decisions scholars were nevertheless not all active in the field. Some, referred to as “literati”, were indeed more interested in the solitude necessary to gain higher levels of personal erudition, and to express this erudition, than in the mundane world of power.
2 flame-sovereigns: the Chinese classics, written sometime between 500 and 100 BC, most often expound on the past of the Chinese nation and their depiction is not always verified by archeology. For this reason the historical narrative of the Classics has been described as mythical by “well-intentioned” Westerners. But more extensive digging and discoveries give them nevertheless credit for an exact depiction of earlier periods that were thought to be mythical until then. So it might well be that future discoveries will give them further credit. To this day archeology has confirmed the narrative of the Classics going back somewhere around 1600 BC. What comes before remains thus labeled as China’s mythical history. That mythical history gives one more dynasty, the Xia, starting sometime around 2200 to 2000 BC. and what comes before the Xia it describes as the unification of China by “3 Sovereigns and 5 emperors”. The 3 Sovereigns are – Fushi, – Nuwa, – Shennong. In the History Classics Shennong is presented not as one sovereign but as a line of sovereigns who were also called Flames or Flame Sovereigns. Depending on the work one consults the Flames are seen lasting some 500 to 16000 years. In “Book 2. Volume 4. Governance and societal evolution” I propose the following:
3 See “From Modernity to After-Modernity”, Book 4. “Governance and Societal Evolution”.
4 See “From Modernity to After-Modernity”, Book 4. “Sovernance and Societal Evolution”.
To my knowledge the Chinese empire is the only and unique power society that preserved animism as its worldview. The “master-men of knowledge”, also known as flames or Flame-Sovereigns or Yan Di or Shennon, acted as the symbols of unity in the spread of their own tribe’s animistic culture. And so the spread of the culture of their own tribe over an expanding territory was unifying an increasing number of people behind a common form of tribal culture a process that has been called called Tian Xia or all under heaven. Once inequality started to set in around 3000 BC some “master-man of knowledge” gradually initiated more and more traits that are typical of the men of power and by 2000 BC, after Yu the Great had initiated the transfer of his power to his descendants, the first Chinese dynasty arose under the name Xia. This institutionalization of the empire led to a restructuring of the traditional role of the animist man of knowledge and his diverse functions were split into specialized spheres of activity:
5 “From Modernity to After-Modernity”, Book One, history, and Book two, theory , are essays at understanding the process of societal evolution. I observe 4 eras in societal evolution. Here is a rough sketch of these eras:
In conclusion, my thesis is that, Late-Modernity is characterized by – the disappearance of the men of knowledge, – the loss of worldviews and rising anxiety, – the death of the function of the arts, – the simultaneous convergence of Modernity’s multiple side-effects, – societal atomization transforming the individuals in zombies, – vanishing societal cohesion and dieing societies, – societal inability to shape future desirable outcomes. I’ll come back on this process in greater detail further down.
6 The argument I defend here parallels Dmitry Orlov’s concept of “technosphere”. “Dmitry Orlov postulates the existence of something called the technosphere, analogous to the biosphere, which came into existence as soon as human inventions started transforming the natural world. This artificial construct appears not to embrace life as we know it, nor does it have any affinity for the human species, beyond what can be manipulated into the technosphere’s service!” A citation from Global Research’s article and interview about Dmitry’s book “Shrinking the Technosphere”.
7 In “Book 2. Volume 4. Governance and Societal Evolution” I developed the idea that all human actions, individual and societal, are eventually confronted to the ultimate systemic reality of our universe wherein life’s complexity plays such a decisive role. By this I mean that all actions, that do not fit within the constrains encoded in the systemic reality of our universe and the application of life which is running on its operating system, will eventually be eliminated one day... The foundational idea here is that the whole (Universe) is prime and all its parts are fitting within the constrains imposed by its applications. Those parts or particles that take liberties with these constrains are doomed to be eliminated. It is in that sense that we understand why living species act strategically to ensure their own reproduction over time. The species and their individual particles act like the polarities of the entity represented by life. To maximize the chances to balance these polarities life uses societies as strategic mechanisms in charge of keeping species and individuals on a “middle of the road path”. The strategy of life is indeed the avoidance by species of any danger of falling in the abyss that invariably results in extinction. The danger of falling in the abyss is understood to be located at the extremities of the line represented by the opposite polarities of any entity and so life entrusts societies to guide species and their individual particles on a “middle of the road path” far from the danger of extinction.
8 Keeping one’s head under the sand is one way to avoid the stench of societal behaviors in times of crisis. But it does nothing to solve the crisis that is responsible for the rotting of societal culture. Seen the predicament which humanity is facing in Late-Modernity it is highly irresponsible to continue keeping one’s head under the sand. This is no time for political correctness any longer. Thinking individuals have the responsibility to speak out and act accordingly. There is no denying the responsibility of science in our current predicament. But this does not mean that we have to burn science. The least we should be trying to do now is to understand where the whole thing went wrong and draw conclusions that could help clarify the path of societies into the future. Having participated in the creation of the mess of power and of Modernity we owe future generations some explanations...
9 Anthropology is a science that emerged in Europe during the 19th century. The context of its emergence was the colonial reality that Europe had been imposing on the rest of the world over the last centuries and continued to impose at the time. So from its onset the context in which it emerged imposed on anthropology to be an ideological presentation of the other people of the earth that was meant to justify Europe’s behavior towards them. Christian morality was indeed starting to question and reject some of its practices like slavery for example. The ideological views developed in the 19th century largely prevailed till sometime after the second world war when a younger generation of anthropologists started to require the application of the scientific method in their approach of tribal life. As a result their views were so flagrantly contradicting anthropological traditional certainties that it took them decades to be heard and their following to grow. Today the vision of tribal life, that finally imposed itself, is one of non-power societies that lived in economic abundance while respecting nature. But be adviced that some very vocal opposition to today’s majority view is still trying to claim the old ideological truisms which is unfortunately shedding confusion in the minds...
10 “From Modernity to After-Modernity”, Book One and Book two