|Up on the tight wire|
Oddly enough, it is in their penultimate event when stars like our Sun attain their full size and scope.
However, it is during our Sun's last main event when it becomes smallest, yet most enduring and life supporting (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6).
If only nations and societies could emulate that sequence of events of the main sequence stars.
If only they could be that "shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere" at their end, but alas, history presents another main sequence of events for social systems:
“Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against(emphasis added). Main sequence societies, unlike main sequence stars, may shine bright during their early existence, but unlike main sequence stars societies go dark when entering their final phase.
degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, ....whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or accidental condition of circumstance.”- Thomas Jefferson
Up on the tight wire
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown." - A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee
IMO, for one thing, this is because the abiotic realm is unlike the biotic realm where lethal mutations take place, i.e., where governments are overcome with toxins of power.
How would we tell if our society was entering the dark and leaving the proverbial light?
Here is one witness:
In my long nomadic life, I’ve had the good fortune to live, work, or travel in all but a handful of countries on this planet. I’ve been to both poles and a great(Tomgram: Is This Country Crazy?, emphasis added). Did you notice that the U.S. was not prominently on display at yesterday's "3.7 million person march" in Paris?
many places in between, and nosy as I am, I’ve talked with people all along the way. I still remember a time when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world for way too many reasons to go into here.
The peak of sanity
That’s changed, of course. Even after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I still met people -- in the Middle East, no less -- willing to withhold judgment on the U.S. Many thought that the Supreme Court’s installation of George W. Bush as president was a blunder American voters would correct in the election of 2004. His return to office truly spelled the end of America as the world had known it. Bush had started a war, opposed by the entire world, because he wanted to and he could. A majority of Americans supported him. And that was when all the uncomfortable questions really began.
In the early fall of 2014, I traveled from my home in Oslo, Norway, through much of Eastern and Central Europe. Everywhere I went in those two months, moments after locals realized I was an American the questions started and, polite as they usually were, most of them had a single underlying theme: Have Americans gone over the edge? Are you crazy? Please explain.
Then recently, I traveled back to the “homeland.” It struck me there that most Americans have no idea just how strange we now seem to much of the world. In my experience, foreign observers are far better informed about us than the
average American is about them. This is partly because the “news” in the American media is so parochial and so limited in its views both of how we act and how other countries think -- even countries with which we were recently, are currently, or threaten soon to be at war. America’s belligerence alone, not to mention its financial acrobatics, compels the rest of the world to keep close track of us. Who knows, after all, what conflict the Americans may drag you into next, as target or reluctant ally?
The peak of sanity
So wherever we expatriates settle on the planet, we find someone who wants to talk about the latest American events, large and small: another country bombed in the name of our “national security,” another peaceful protest march attacked by our increasingly militarized police, another diatribe against “big government” by yet another wannabe candidate who hopes to head that very government in Washington. Such news leaves foreign audiences puzzled and full of trepidation.
Further reading on the reality of mass madness: (Etiology of Social Dementia, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; Choose Your Trances Carefully; Phases Of An Empire Freezing To Death - 2, A Decline Of The American Republic - 4).
The previous post in this series is here.
It's All Over Now Baby Blue, by Bob Dylan