Going to Hell in a handbasket, Part 1
“Going to Hell in a handbasket”: to be rapidly deteriorating; on course for disaster. This phrase may have originated from the use of handbaskets to catch the decapitated heads of guillotined criminals during the French Revolution. (phrases.org.uk)
It all started from a simple question on my blog (from someone I know quite well)…
But what started as a simple question, buried in the comments after one of my recent posts, where many people would never see it, turned into a lengthy description of my take on what’s going on in the world, from an “as viewed from outer space” big-picture perspective.
Though a lot of this falls into the “not at all what you wanted to hear” category, I decided that I should share it with everyone—which I will do over the next several days in a series of posts.
It started this way:
A question for you.
After the years you have lived, the work you’ve done and the things you’ve seen, if I’d ask you what do you expect out of life, of your days remaining here, what would you say? What’s your view?
My answer: I get up, I eat, I come to work, I do my best to help people, I go home, I spend time with my wife, I play the saxophone, I see my kids and grandkids, I read, I pay close attention to the financial markets and the world situation, I go to bed.
From Santiago: Very zenny – chop wood, carry water, I don’t care much – answer. You speak a lot about dark times coming. Do you have any guesses on what will come out of that ? (I know it’s a lengthy topic).
In my own view there is a clear tendency towards integration in the world, which comes with more and more people having experiences of unity (an evolutionary process). Like the world is realizing that is one body breathing and one mind thinking, one process evolving. From a hindu perspective we could be moving as humanity from a 3rd chakra (look for power) center to the 4rth one (non dual love).
Of course this is (like most processes in nature) not smooth and easy, like the birth of a child, doesn’t come without tears and blood, so is not like we’re gonna start loving each other just like that, but it could be an intelligence emerging. Because otherwise individual inexhaustible egoistic appetites will clearly end with humanity as species.
Any thoughts on this ?
Thanks as usual for the blog and for sharing all this wisdom.
My answer: I don’t think we’re moving into the Age of Aquarius, or some period of collective love. In fact, just the opposite. And, I doubt that more people are having experiences of unity now than at any other period in history, other than perhaps because there are more people in the world than ever before in history. Those of us who’ve spent enough time meditating or doing other spiritual practices in order to have some sort of transcendent experience are a tiny fraction of the population of the world. Most such experiences are spontaneous and the person having the experience may or may not have any idea whether it is significant or not. Most would just think, “Wow. That was a cool and weird experience.”
Positive and negative social mood moves in waves governed by certain mathematical relationships that are built into the universe. If you look carefully at history, going back, say, 10,000 years, and look at the archeological evidence in pre-history times, and the much greater evidence as we get closer to modern times, you can clearly see the times when social mood was negative. I do see us entering such a time of increasingly negative social mood–in fact, a BIG one. And though things are obviously much more contentious and negative now than they were ten years ago (or even five), I don’t think the REAL dark times are here yet.
When such times come, human beings can do such savage things that it’s almost unbelievable. The 1930s and 1940s provide the most recent relatively big example. These two decades included:
* The Nazis
* A vicious Japanese attempt to subjugate much of East Asia
* Stalin and his killing of millions of people (more than Hitler, by the way)
* Mao fighting the Kuomintang and the Japanese in China (and using the chaos to take over China, leading to up to 70,000,000 deaths by some accounts)
*Millions of deaths from war, starvation, etc, destruction of entire cities
* American Nazi rallies in Madison Square Garden in the US
* A world-wide depression
* US communists coming out of the woodwork and gaining many key posts in the US government
* Vicious street fighting in Europe (even before WW2)
* And a lot more.
There were riots, epidemics, economic meltdowns, and every radical nutjob came out of the woodwork (Huey Long [on the left], Father Coughlin [on the right], etc—google them).
When chaos takes over, radicals like these, of all stripes, stand on their soapboxes and shout to the crowds, “Don’t worry, I have the answer.” Their answer is usually deadly for the world, but things are so bad, and people are so confused that they are willing to follow someone who seems to have an answer. The same will happen this time, and it’s already starting.
Looking at history, this sort of thing has happened over and over. We like to think that today we’re more civilized, and that “it can’t happen here,” but the Nazi era ended just 5 years before I was born, which isn’t that long ago. I don’t think in the last 65 years humans have matured that much. And, of course, mass killings have continued to happen since, even during times of positive social mood.
Most historians estimate that the communists in China were responsible for between 40,000,000 and 70,000,000 deaths (some of this came during a less severe downturn in social mood, from the late 1960s to the late 1970s–during which time, by the way, just in the US, Robert Kennedy, Medger Evers, Martin Luthor King, Malcolm X and others were assassinated, there were riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago, several race riots broke out in US cities, black churches were firebombed, students were shot and killed by the National Guard at Kent State University, numerous anti-war rallies were held (some of them quite violent), and the entire country was fractured over the Vietnam war).
When times of negative social mood come, civilization flies out the window, and it will this time, too. In times of positive social mood (and a major such time peaked about ten years ago) everybody loves everyone else, everything seems possible. In times of negative mood, everything turns upside down and the worst side of people comes out. Based on the size of the peak of positive mood, which happened about ten years ago, this downturn should be much bigger than in the 1930s, which was terrible enough.
I suspect there will be economic devastation, total chaos, epidemics (the Black Death, around 1350, happened during a time of declining social mood, and killed between 30-60% of Europe’s population), and every other bad thing you can think of. Leaders often use such times to further centralize power (if you want power, “never let a good crisis go to waste”) and reduce freedom of expression, movement, choice, etc.
It’s difficult to not get swept up in social mood even if you’re aware that it’s happening. All you can do is become more aware of what is going on (despite the fact that paying attention during negative times is difficult and doesn’t improve your mood one bit—not to mention the fact that the media isn’t reporting what’s really happening, and a lot of the information comes from radical sources that have a decided agenda but may appear to be valid—requiring you to develop alternate sources of information) and do your best to stay out of the way of danger, nutjobs, etc. Think of the fall of the Roman Empire and what that must have been like on the basic level of the everyday person.
What will come out of it? No one knows. However, usually there is a battle during such times between two forces. Generally speaking, this battle is between those who want authoritarianism and those who want freedom. These two forces were represented in the 1930s and 1940s by the Nazi’s and the Soviets on one side and Western democracies on the other (even though the Soviets and Western democracies were allies against Hitler, the Soviet approach to life was more like Hitler’s).
Sometimes the good guys win, and sometimes the bad guys win. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which, or there are no good guys. I don’t think there’s any guarantee that good will triumph during these battles. It depends on what people do. What would the world be like if Hitler had won? What if the US hadn’t been involved in the war in Europe in WW2 and the Soviet Union took over Europe after defeating Hitler? Many times in history the most vicious people have “won” and slaughtered millions. Look up Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, for instance.
Though not directly about this subject (for more about social mood, google socionomy), a book I highly recommend, as it goes though the entire history of humanity, based on the most recent archeological findings (and is written by a quite witty and highly readable author, Ian Morris) is Why the West Rules–for Now. This book gives you a fascinating look at the scope of human history. Though the author isn’t hip to the influence of social mood, you can clearly see it at work in this book (Richard Martin, you will LOVE this book).
I’m not saying that we’re all going to be in bomb shelters, or that life will necessarily or continuously be one of grim survival (though look at what WW2 was like for the people of Europe). What happens during such times for you is at least partly under your control. Inform yourself. Figure out what you can do to be more prepared and do it. Strengthen your social ties to those you love. Begin to realize that the best things in life are free and take advantage of those freebies.
As always, the best thing anyone can do to better navigate life, whether in times of positive or negative social mood, is to BECOME MORE AWARE. Holosync makes you more aware, and does it more quickly, than anything I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been around that block MANY times).
I’ve been trying to get across on this blog that there are some key things about life that are a choice, IF you are aware enough to see how you create them. Other things, especially cause and effect and impermanence, can be affected a little bit, but in the grand scheme of things, and in an ultimate sense, they are beyond your control (see my many posts about this topic). Those things you have to acknowledge and make your peace with (or, alternately, make yourself miserable fighting the unwinnable fight against them).
I’m not trying to be negative in all this, just realistic.
One last note: be careful of those who promise “Follow me to Utopia!”–which can take many forms. Progressives, communists, socialists, and fascists are all famous for making such promises (and people are much more likely to listen to them in times of declining social mood), clothing their plans in attractive garments. These things always end very badly.
But the discussion didn’t end with that. Unbelievably (!) Santiago didn’t agree with me! In my next post I’ll share Santiago’s answer, along with some shocking details I then shared with him to support my contention that we are entering a period of severely negative social mood.
(click the player above to listen to this post)
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