Transformations: The Finish of the U.S. and the World as We Know It and The Reality About Our Collective Future


Half 1

            It isn’t simple to simply accept, however it’s changing into increasingly apparent that our nation and our world aren’t doing nicely. Some imagine the U.S. is falling aside and the people have made such a multitude of the atmosphere that we should always name it quits, exit in a blaze of destruction, and go away planet Earth within the arms of species who’re higher capable of be good companions in the neighborhood of life on Earth. Others imagine that human ingenuity and revolutionary applied sciences will make things better and now we have a shiny future forward. I’ve a distinct imaginative and prescient that was given to me in a sweat lodge in 1993 at a males’s gathering in Indianapolis, Indiana:

We’re all on an enormous ocean liner. It’s the Ship of Civilization. Every part that we all know and have ever identified is on the ship. Persons are born and die. Items and providers are created, wars are fought, and elections are held.  Species come into being and face extinction. The Ship steams on and on and there’s no doubt that it’ll proceed on its current course eternally.

There are lots of decks on the ship beginning method down within the boiler room the place the poorest and grimiest toil to maintain the ship going. As you ascend the decks, issues get lighter and simpler. The individuals who run the ship have suites on the very prime deck. Their job, as they see it, is to maintain the ship going and preserve these on the decrease decks of their correct locations. Since they’re on the prime they’re positive that they need to have one of the best that the ship has to supply.  

Everybody on the decrease decks aspires to stand up to the following deck and hungers to get to the very prime. That’s the way in which it’s. That’s the way in which it has all the time been. That’s the way in which it’s going to all the time be. Nonetheless, there are just a few individuals who understand that one thing very unusual is going on. What they arrive to know is that the Ship of Civilization is sinking. At first, like everybody else, they will’t imagine it. The Ship has been afloat since time earlier than time. It’s the better of one of the best. That it may sink is unthinkable. 

Nonetheless, they’re positive the Ship is sinking. They attempt to warn the folks, however few imagine them. The Ship can’t be sinking and anybody who thinks so should be out of their thoughts. Once they persist in making an attempt to warn the folks of what they’re dealing with, these accountable for the Ship silence them and lock them up. The Ship’s media preserve grinding out information tales describing how great the longer term shall be and expertise will resolve all our issues.

The Captains of the Ship smile and wave and promise prosperity for all. However water is starting to seep in from beneath. The upper the water rises, the extra frightened the folks grow to be and the extra frantic they scramble to get to the higher decks. Some imagine it’s the finish of the world and truly welcome the prospect of the destruction of life as we all know it. They imagine it’s the success of non secular prophecy. Others grow to be increasingly irritable, offended, and depressed and use alcohol, medication, and different types of self-medication to flee the ache. 

However because the water rises, those that have been issuing the warnings can now not be silenced. Increasingly more escape confinement and lead the folks in direction of the lifeboats. Although there are boats sufficient for all, many individuals are reluctant to depart the Ship of Civilization. “Issues could look unhealthy now, however absolutely they are going to get higher quickly,” they are saying to one another. 

However, the Ship is sinking. Many individuals go over the facet to the boats. As they achieve this, they’re puzzled to see lettering on the facet of the ship, T-I-T-A-N-I-C.  Once they attain the lifeboats, many are frightened and search for somebody who appears like they know what to do. They’d prefer to journey with these folks.  

Nonetheless, they discover that every individual should get in their very own boat and row away from the Ship in their very own path. In the event that they don’t get away from the Ship as quickly as attainable they are going to be pulled below with it. Although every individual should row their very own boat, they need to keep related to others. As folks row away from the Ship, they join with one another in a brand new, but historic, community. A brand new lifestyle is created that’s a lot better than the Ship of Civilization which continues to sink. 

Right here are some things I’ve thought of through the years that provides me hope for the longer term:

  1. “Civilization” is a misnomer. Its correct title is the “Dominator tradition.” 

So long as we purchase the parable that “civilization” is one of the best people can aspire to realize, we’re doomed to go down with the ship. In The Chalice & the Blade: Our Historical past Our Future first printed in 1987, internationally acclaimed scholar and futurist, Riane Eisler first launched us to our lengthy, historic heritage as a Partnership Tradition and our newer Dominator Tradition, which has come to be known as “Civilization.” In her latest guide, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Form Our Brains, Lives, and Future, written with peace activist Douglas P. Fry, they provide actual steerage for making a world based mostly on partnership.

Historian of religions, Thomas Berry, spoke eloquently to our have to be sincere about our current state of affairs.

“We by no means knew sufficient. Nor have been we sufficiently intimate with all our cousins within the nice household of the earth. Nor may we hearken to the varied creatures of the earth, every telling its personal story. The time has now come, nevertheless, once we will hear or we are going to die.” 

2. There’s a higher world, past civilization.

Once I was given the guide Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, I obtained a transparent sense of the 2 worlds which might be competing for our consideration: A world the place hierarchy and dominance rule (Quinn calls it the world of the Takers) and a world the place equality and connection rule (Quinn calls it the world of the Leavers). In his many books Quinn provides a transparent distinction in worldviews.

In his guide, Past Civilization: Humanity’s Subsequent Nice Journey, Quinn says,

“I can confidently predict that if the world is saved, it won’t be as a result of some outdated minds got here up with some new packages. Applications by no means cease the issues they’re launched to cease. No program has ever stopped poverty, drug abuse, or crime, and no program ever will cease them. And no program will ever cease us from devastating the world.”

Quinn goes on to cite Buckminster Fuller who mentioned,

“You by no means change issues by combating the prevailing actuality. To alter one thing, construct a brand new mannequin that makes the prevailing mannequin out of date.”

3. All Civilizations Come to an Finish, Most Inside Ten Generations (250 years).

            In her highly effective and vital guide, Who Do We Select to Be? Going through Actuality, Claiming Management, Restoring Sanity, social scientist Margaret J. Wheatley shares the findings of historian Sir John Glubb.

“Glubb studied 13 empires within the Center East, Asia, and Europe, from Assyria in 859 BCE to trendy Britain in 1950,”

says Wheatley.

“The sample of the decline and fall of those superpowers was startingly clear. It didn’t matter the place they have been or what expertise they’d or how they exercised energy. All of them declined in the identical phases and it all the time took ten generations, about 250 years.”

            Wheatley concludes,

“The deceit we’re engaged in is that we expect we’re particular, that we will transcend historical past, alter the seasons, and step off the Arrow of Time. Surrounded by expertise that dazzles us with its capabilities and techno-optimists who confidently promise ever extra wonders, we imagine that whilst different civilizations failed, ours won’t.”

4. Understanding the Actuality of Collapse.

            The considered our nation collapsing or humanity changing into one other species that turns into extinct is terrifying to most. One response is to disclaim the truth of our state of affairs, to lose ourselves within the newest escape or habit. One other is to falsely imagine that some technological repair will magically save us from ourselves.

            Once I hear the phrase “collapse,” I can’t assist changing into terrified and desirous to run away from the reality. I image a freeway collapsing and crushing vehicles with folks inside or the dual towers collapsing ground by ground and killing lots of.

            The reality is that even throughout these disasters, not everybody died. Many extra folks walked out of the dual towers than died inside. When civilizations collapse, it doesn’t imply that everybody dies. When the British empire collapsed, it didn’t imply all Brits misplaced their lives. Some did, certainly, die. Dying is one thing all of us should settle for, however collapse can sign a change.

            In describing the truth of collapse, Margaret Wheatley attracts on the work of Joseph Tainter, as nicely John Glubb. Tainter’s guide, The Collapse of Advanced Societies, printed in 1987, is acknowledged to be the seminal work in establishing the sample of collapse that’s the destiny of all complicated societies.

“He’s an outstanding and devoted scholar,”

says Wheatley,

“each humble and clear. Over a number of years he studied in depth many alternative societies; as he did so, the sample turned so clear that he felt no must proceed to check others intimately.”

            Tainter’s description provides a extra correct, and fewer terrifying, description of the truth we live by means of. Tainter defines “collapse,” as primarily a political phenomenon with penalties in all different spheres resembling economics, artwork, and tradition.

“A society has collapsed when it shows a fast, vital lack of a longtime stage of sociopolitical complexity.”

            This matches nicely with the descriptions I’ve supplied by sociobiologist and futurist Rebecca Costa. In her guide, The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Principle of Collapse, Costa examines the rise and fall of a number of civilizations together with Mayan, Khymer, and Roman empires. She discovered that the underlying reason behind collapse had not been absolutely understood or addressed. What she found was {that a} societies incapability to take care of complexity was the foundation reason behind collapse.

As Costa’s mentor, the world-renowned sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson mentioned within the books foreword:

“The conflict of religions, and civilizations, Costa argues, shouldn’t be the reason for our difficulties however a consequence of them. The identical is true of the worldwide water scarcity, local weather change, the decline of carbon-based vitality, our cheerful destruction of the remaining pure atmosphere, and all the opposite calamities near or upon us. The first reason behind all threatening tendencies is the complexity of civilization itself, which can’t be understood and managed by the cognitive instruments now we have up to now chosen to make use of.”  

            However transformation is inevitable and now we have a chance to create a distinct solution to stay, one that’s extra sustainable and supportive of life. Our ancestors return tens of millions of years and people have lived sustainably on the planet for a lot of that point. However getting from right here to there is a protracted journey requiring a brand new form of chief, which Margaret Wheatly describes as a “warrior for the human spirit.” I’ll describe her concepts extra absolutely partially 2 of this collection.

            As Wheatly reminds us, “The Warriors come up when the folks want safety. The human spirit wants safety. Might the Warriors come up.” As I’m studying, getting older and coping with incapacity and dying, have some similarities with the transformations happening within the bigger world. It takes one of the best of our warrior spirit to fulfill the challenges of life within the 4th quarter of life.

            I respect your feedback and assist. For those who like articles like these, please think about subscribing to my weekly e-newsletter right here. I’ll put up half two in an upcoming article.