Wednesday 14 August 2019

Reform or collapse: Does it matter what people say (or write) or what they do?

A detailed comment from 'whitestone' yesterday suggested that we are currently seeing the beginnings of an awakening from the sleep of materialistic Leftism - although I'm not sure whether he meant a Christian revival or (merely) a backlash against the long term trend towards Leftism.

I quite often get comments or correspondence saying that I am too pessimistic, and that there are signs of change. They've been wrong so far, but maybe they will be right now, or soon? After all, if change ever happened (they say) it would probably (?) happen in small ways at first; detectable by someone on the lookout. Right?

In general, I don't take much notice of what people say, only what they do. Some things that people say are significant enough to count as actions, but most are not. Most people do not take seriously what they say, do not feel bound by previous utterances - regard statement as merely a temporary expedient tactic en route to some other, quite different purpose.

Then again, even actions may be so regarded - and can effectively be deniable and denied; especially with the help of mass media framing. It is pretty easy to reverse the perceived meaning of actions.

So maybe neither words nor actions are of much significance. So, what am I looking-for? What would I regard as a significant change of tide?

The answer is that any genuine change of direction would be very obvious indeed, happening on a timescale of days.

Yes, astute observers might see signs a few days earlier than everybody else; but if the great steamroller of the evil agenda really was shuddering to a halt and then reversing - or if a new impulse had arisen in the souls of Men, and they began to live on a different (and religious) basis; this would not be something we would need to go looking-for...

The reaction of the Global Establishment would be Absolutely Massive, far beyond anything we have ever seen. All the major social institutions would be activated - because they are all led by secular Leftists who have subscribed to the agenda of evil.

We would see large and impossible to ignore reactions from the mass media, in state propaganda systems; from our employers, schools, and major corporations - and the mainstream Christian churches.

All Hell would (literally) Break Loose.

Change would, in other words, be rapid or not at all. This I regard as a property of large complex systems; and our virtuality - the single, globally linked bureaucracy - is a very large and very complex system.

It is, I believe, a property of large and complex systems that they are effective at maintaining themselves against many kinds of small scale threats. They simply 'heal over' the damage from a multitude of manageable problems and pathologies - as does the human body.

But when there is System Failure (which is what we are talking about) there is a very rapid and accelerating (positive feedback) domino-effect; by which failure in one part causes failure in others - rather like overwhelming septicaemia.

If the global bureaucracy of virtuality is stressed beyond its capacity to heal; the system will collapse very rapidly indeed; with change spreading out like a worldwide, accelerating and growing tsunami. It will affect everybody on the planet.

Nothing on the scale will have been seen in history, because there are now seven billion people plus - whereas for most of history there was max one billion; often a lot less. The whole world is linked and interdependent now; whereas in the past it was divided into self-sufficient segments.

In the past you could (and people, diseases and starvation did) wipe-out any segment - town, region, nation, continent - and the others would continue all-but untroubled.

(Old societies were more like a tree; which can lose branches, roots, half the trunk - indeed almost everything can be destroyed; and yet the tree may regrow from what remains.)

Now, everybody depends on everybody else; every system is specialised - none can survive alone, coordination is essential.

Small percentage losses are worked around; but when the System is stressed too much; with too great or too many failures - the whole System will collapse and die. 

That is what reversing Leftism would be like; or else Leftism would not really be reversed, but would simply heal and recommence its previous growth (as happened so many times in the past).


Dominic said...

Bruce, it has been a while since I posted a comment as I am more of a reader than a commenter, but I hope I can offer some thoughts on this issue.

One of the domains most attuned to detecting upcoming change is the financial markets. Advanced participants can be very good at identifying when and where the probability of change is high.

My personal experience as an investor is that the type of change you identify - rapid, or not at all - is late stage change; change that has spent some time undergoing gestation, being brought forth in infancy, and supsequently spent some time developing.

In other words, as change evolves its development is not linear, but it accelerates. The challenge for observers is to learn how to identify that change prior to the acceleration. The patterns in the domain of finance are applicable in other domains mediated by human psychology, so I beleive the same is true of politics and culture.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Dominic - I don't believe that.

Partly because there is pervasive dishonesty in the financial markets. Because, why not? It is an atheist world, hence the ultimate ethic is hedonic expediency, not transcendental truth - and if truth is not transcendental it will be sacrified whenever expedient.

Secondly it has too many false positives - constant, jagged changes.

Thirdly, it is subject to manipulation; and the exact people/ beings who can do this are most likely to do it.

Fourthly, it 'predicts' on the basis of retrospect - that it, it assumes cycles. Yet the present is unprecedented.

In sum - I assume that abstraction and expertise is not going to reveal what cannot be known directly and personally.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Dominic - To add to point one about dishonesty and three about manipulation - I wrote about this in Not Even Trying ( - what this means is that information is corrupted.

Truth cannot be extracted from a corrupt system - certainly not by averaging, which only deals with random error. This, I experienced as science became corrupted more and more; at a certain point the system became useless/ misleading as a source of information. The remaining consistency within the system is not due to truth, but to bureaucracy; to mere 'consensus'.

whitestone said...

No I was not suggesting anything of such magnitude as the reversal leftism, world wide systemic collapse or that satan and his entire legions were about to be vanquished overnight. Merely noting the emergence of some encouraging signs of something akin to small spiritual revival springing forth from the most unlikely of environments. Little acorns in a spiritual desert. Nothing more.