This is an era in which the major institutions are declining - to be replaced by The (single, linked) Bureaucracy.
This has been a major fact of my adult life - the gradual recognition that all of the institutions with which I was directly involved: schools, universities, the medical profession, the health services, biomedical science and science in general... have all Gone!
Sometimes the shell remains, but what is within the shell has been hollowed out and replaced with The Bureaucracy; what the institution used-to-do has been redirected and repurposed into the uniform objectives of The Bureaucracy.
And what does The Bureaucracy want? Well, at a proximate level it wants total-control; it wants to know what everybody is doing (ideally, what they are thinking) at every moment of every day, such that this can be regulated and directed. The desire for totalitarianism clearly suffices for short-termism - but raises the question of the ultimate goal.
Towards what is The Bureaucracy aiming?
This may be clarified by considering what superficially-seems to be The Bureaucracy's only rival: the Mass Media. In fact, they are merely rivalrous divisions within the same organisation.
The Mass Media attracts 24/ 7 attention and mental participation, it is very-highly addictive such that its compulsion is in the form of desire - and therefore the MM has the same objective of totalitarian thought-control as The Bureaucracy. And the Media, in its core activity and overall tendency, always pushes (either directly, or implicitly) for more surveillance and more regulation - for more Bureaucracy.
In sum, the Mass Media gives the impetus and justification to the Bureaucracy, and 'corrects' it when it strays from The Program; and each component of The Bureaucracy responds in part directly to the Mass Media, and in part to the other components of The Bureaucracy.
For The Bureaucracy 'reality' is what the Mass Media is saying, and what other parts of the Bureaucracy is communicating. That's it. That is the whole of reality: there is nothing more.
As for the Masses - they are paid by The Bureaucracy (one way or another, usually directly - if not indirectly); and spend their money, time and effort on The Mass Media. These are the whole of reality: there is nothing more.
(Whatever else seems to exist is purely personal, subjective, evanescent, contingent - presumably some delusion, the result of ignornance or childishness, irrational; mere wishful thinking. Objective Reality IS the Bureaucracy and the Mass Media.)
But what is The Bureaucracy (considered as a cohesive Thing) aiming-at: why does it want totalitarian control?
That is the bad news - because it turns-out that The Bureaucracy and the Mass Media are both, at the highest levels, pursuing a demonic agenda; and therefore what it wants is destruction of The Good (truth, beauty, virtue, coherence) and to persuade all humans to reject (explicitly, deliberately) salvation into everlasting life in Heaven.
At the top, at the highest level, ultimately setting-the agenda are literal demonic powers. Not many of them - they work indirectly via humans using bribery, intimidation and lying propaganda - but they are the primary movers and shakers both.
In sum, the modern world has become a vast machine of spiritual damnation; a single mechanism with an ever-finer mesh to capture ever-more people in an ever-tighter constraint - aiming to poison that which is good; to promote, reward, enforce that which is dishonest, ugly, wicked and insane.
SO - as individuals, we look at the world, and we look for groups, organisations, clubs, colleges, guilds, movements, parties and all manner of collectivities - to provide us with knowledge, encouragement, and to amplify our influence...
And we find that there are none (or hardly any, small, weak, poor, despised; and only minimally effectual. And that, for various reasons, we personally cannot participate in them).
We find ourselves confronted by this vast machine of damnation - and we are on-our-own.
On our own because of the wholesale corruption; the possibility of living-well by participation-in, obedience-to some Good external authority and groups has been deleted.
Every-body must - and this is not avoidable - therefore always exercise discernment; must evaluate, judge, discriminate; and must find their own motivations, courage, and direction. There is no other Good option on offer.
Like it or not, want it or not; this is un-evade-able: it is the inescapable situation in-which we find-ourselves.
This is precisely the core situation of modernity; it is the experience we are here (in mortal incarnate life) to experience, it is the lesson we personally are here to learn; it is why we were born now and here, rather than some other time or place: it is the challenge that we, personally, must confront and overcome.
And, for a Christian with faith in a loving God who is our Father and creator of this world, and whose Son made possible our resurrection to divinity - and whose guidance and wisdom is universally and personally accessible to all men as The Holy Ghost - who is our living, individual direction-finder and inspiration...
For such a Christian this colossal monolith of inter-connected evil is a challenge that each of us - individually and 'alone' - can overcome.