Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I think civilizations are like dramas, with themes and roles and a plot. The major themes of western civilization have become unsustainable. We stern civilization has played itself out. The "game" has become uninteresting and unfulfilling. Every path is blocked and there is no next step, no new frontier. All of its traditions have been destroyed and all of its dreams snuffed out - and this just in our lifetimes, which is lightning fast. Part of the drama (and intrigue and excitement) of western civilization was its go for broke derring do speed and daring, so it probably shouldn't surprise us that it is going down fast and hard.
It can't go on. It won't. The attempts by the fundamentalists and racists and capitalists and jingoists to save it are futile and absurd, because their very efforts are just part of the drama of the collapse. At the same time, the urge to tear it down is just another role to play in the final act of the great drama.
We have a unique opportunity to step outside of the drama, that only comes once in a long while in history. We are in a civilization that is collapsing. We can't save it, we can't kill it. You might as well try to “help” a tidal wave or stop it.
What we can do, though, us plant the seeds for what comes next. It is not too early to start. I would cite the last great example of this from history, but since that is part of the drama of western civilization and we are all “against” western civilization, we would probably reject it as a model for us.
There is a lot to discuss. There is a lot of work to do. But we need to step off the sinking ship, figuratively speaking. There is a lot of tension for all of us because everything we see says that the ship is sinking, but we keep arguing about the best way to stop it from sinking, or among other groups they are arguing about plans for the future as though it isn't sinking. That causes a lot of tension and confusion and miscommunication.
Recognizing that the ship is sinking does not have to be depressing or discouraging – quite the opposite. To say “look at the murder and slavery and torture and lawlessness and environmental destruction and hatred” and then demand that we all put on a happy face and be positive is asking us to do something that we can't and shouldn't do. Nor should we give up and be without hope, though. Our hope is in something completely new while at the same time we don't kid ourselves about the dangers we are facing nor the probable hardships ahead.