May 17, 2013

We are driven by ideas we won't examine...

I was responding to a comment by Bisaal at my post, Do you notice a trend?, and the response grew too interesting (to me at least) to just be a comment...

This is just Utopian thinking. You still have to find economical sources of oil. Physically and industrially. There is no necessity that oil is an infinite resource.

You miss my point. It's not that we do or don't have unlimited oil, it is that mineral wealth won't be the "limiting factor" for human material progress in this new age we are in. Just as in the Industrial Age food production no longer limited growth, as it had before. Populations increased greatly, industrial cities mushroomed, but somehow everybody got fed. Not in some "utopian" way; the workers just always managed to get enough to eat to keep working.

"Isn't this some kind of gnosticism? Is external reality so irrelevant?"

There's nothing gnostic about it. Civilization always modifies the physical world, and modifications always start with the idea that something is possible. Most of the time our ideas of what is possible change slowly. Incrementally. We don't even think about our underlying ideas, we just do things.

I think that a "new age" happens when our ideas of what is possible change in a sudden radical way across much of society. And then these new possibilities start to be invented. Start to unfold. Our ideas change, then everything else changes.

I'm a "theoretician" by nature, and this is more and more my theoretical focus. Unfortunately our world does not want to know about this. We prefer to think that we are just seeing what is clearly there, and acting in obvious and "normal" ways.

I think I have important ideas to offer to the world, but no one's buying. Especially, I believe that the reason we see institutions failing all around us right now is because they have failed to transition to the new age. They are still operating with Industrial Age paradigms. Governments, schools and universities, the press, many churches, including the Catholic Church, NGO's, ideologies like liberalism... all are failing in obvious glaring ways.

In every instance you can see the same symptoms! And number one is that the core mission has been forgotten. Why would this happen? It is always because when people's thoughts change in a transition to a new age, the ideas and "ways" of the old age suddenly seem pointless and absurd. That's when all groups needed to re-think. But they mostly don't. They try to just keep doing the same things, though they no longer believe in them.

For instance there are a bunch of scandals in the news right now, all of them about failures of various federal government departments. State Dept, IRS, EPA, HHS, etc. But the underlying problem is that government has forgotten its core mission, which is to serve the people.

One of the great Industrial Age accomplishments was the creation of what we in America called "the civil service." Most people know little history now, and have no idea of the size of the change that was wrought, wresting government work out of the hands of political appointees, and giving it to apolitical "civil servants" selected by examination. Reformers dedicated their whole lives to promoting civil service. It was almost a religion.

When the new age dawned, people in government forgot all that. It seemed suddenly old-fashioned, that idea of service. That's the exact time when unions for government employees started to happen. And when the servants started thinking of themselves as masters. To the point where now it seemed perfectly normal for IRS employees to target groups that criticize government or advocate lower taxes.

Posted by John Weidner at May 17, 2013 8:27 AM


I thoroughly enjoyed the last two posts.


Posted by: Cameron Ashby at May 18, 2013 1:59 PM

Thanks! Good to hear from you. I hope you are flourishing...

Posted by: John Weidner at May 18, 2013 7:10 PM
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