Two propositions.(stimulated by Daniel Schmachtenberger)
I used to say, when people asked me about my then library of about 4000 books, “They are moslty about culture and culture change, because if ours doesn’t we are in trouble.” I read Toynbee and his disappearance of 28 civilizations and persisted in th human trick of declaring to myself that our civilization was different – too diffuse, too locally coping, to seriously disappear.
Humans are inventive and creative. The combination is lethal as competition uses inventiveness for ever more destructuve weapons. Since changing our inventivess is impossible, perhaps we can crate a cooperative cultire.
The unit of analysis is the civilization – following Toynbee and the disappearance – of all previous civilizations, what can we do to prevent the disappearance of this one?
Can we, even if we believe it, hold on to this level of analysis?
Joseph Tainter proposes that
as a society (civilizations?) grows more complex, the cost of maintaining the system increases faster than the system’s surplus until the entire surplus is used up in maintenance and, because the system is in motion, overshoots and collapses.
Moreover, elites are as they are because they own or manage the key infrastructures, and, as these get into trouble, instead of fixing them, they cut costs to get cashe out for themselves, hurrying the collapse.
We should ask, “OK, now what?”