Perhaps you have not noticed this – but it is one of the defining features of our times – our Dysfunctional Times. It just doesn’t work – and we are determined to keep it that way. And even more strangely, we are determined to not notice that we are this way.
This is shameful behavior, and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. But we are not – we are pleased with ourselves instead. As if we had some great accomplishment to brag about.
I am tempted to philosophize here, and speak of our discovery of negative being or perhaps negative reality. We have discovered that we could move in an entirely new direction – one that will result in our total destruction. But instead of horrifying us – this attracts us.
We should rewrite our history to show how this fundamental transformation took place. This hasn’t been done before because this possibility never occurred to us – it was too shocking to even be considered. But now it has happened, we need to backtrack and take it seriously.
We can easily answer the question which bedevils us “Why aren’t things working?” The answer is “Because we don’t want them to work!”
We have gone into a self-destruct mode without realizing it – because the first thing we destroyed was our selves – our self-awareness.
You may object – as I did myself – that we have been able to make some things work. New software comes out all time time – Windows 8, for example. But this only happens in an environment that is determined to not make things work overall.
I speak from experience here. I worked in the software industry for ten years – and I watched these software companies self-destruct over and over. And noticed how no one was noticing this. They were not only destroying themselves, they were destroying all the people associated with them – their employees, investors, and customers.
There I was, the solitary observer at the end of an era, noticing what everyone else was incapable of noticing. And wondering why. I am reminded of the Stoic Philosophers at the end of the Roman Empire. And it seems to me our situation is similar.
And this is not a bad analogy. It is one we could use to our advantage. The Roman Empire was over-developed – as our own is. We only need to ask ourselves “What is the over-development in our own time?”
Two thousand years ago, this would have been obvious from looking at a map of the Empire. It was physically over-extended – it covered far more territory than it could defend. But accurate maps would not appear until much later – after the Empire was long gone.
What kind of map can we provide for our own time? I think we need to start from where we are – with an honest evaluation of where we are – completely messed up. And go from there.
We have made some assumptions – just as the Romans did – that didn’t work. One of them was that perpetual exponential economic growth had to happen – or more correctly, had to continue to happen. It doesn’t take much thought to realize this is not possible.
But Americans do not think; they just insist it has to happen anyway. Their business plan cannot possibly work – but they are determined to make it work anyway.