No heresy raises hackles in the contemporary world quite so effectively as the suggestion that the soaring towers and equally lofty pretensions of the industrial world could become the crumbling ruins and dim memories of some future age. At the core of the modern world’s identity is the conviction that our civilization is exempt from the slow trajectories of rise and fall that defined all of human history before the industrial revolution. It’s an article of contemporary faith, as deeply and sincerely held as any religious creed, that we have been singled out for some larger destiny – perhaps a science fiction future among the stars, perhaps a grand catastrophe bigger and brighter than any other civilization has managed
==The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age (John Michael Greer)
Thermodynamic progress, as defined by the presumption of a directional passage through time, leads ultimately to only one state for all matter, entropy or simply put, thermodynamic death. Mankind is unique in our world entirely the result of our self-consciousness, our mind and its ability to determine our own finiteness, in the inevitability of our own death. All religions deal with this by allowing for the contemplation of perpetual existence, either in an afterlife fashioned in some way with physical familiarity or through rebirth, again into an existing earthly form, even if as an insect, but all with a vision of perpetuation.
However, for those without such beliefs or for the uncertain, there is either the solace of genetic perpetuation or the human aspiration to be “remembered”, to make a mark in some form or fashion, an imprint that lives on, but all of these require a confidence in the notion that humanity itself, more importantly, civilization and culture will survive us into the infinite. Is it even truly possible to contemplate an end? Will the universe exist without us?
Thinking these thoughts may allow an easier path to understand that the true modern Western religion of “progress” as defined by material goods consumption and “standards of living” is about to be painfully transformed, those without faith in their own perpetuation in a spiritual sense may soon be staring into a very uncomfortable abyss of total despair. I know, as I have been there.
North America being what it is today, a great many people considering the sort of future I’ve just sketched out immediately start thinking about the potential for ethnic conflict, especially but not only in the United States. It’s an issue worth discussing, and not only for the currently obvious reasons. Conflict between ethnic groups is quite often a major issue in the twilight years of a civilization, for reasons we’ll discuss shortly, but it’s also self-terminating, for an interesting reason: traditional ethnic divisions don’t survive dark ages. In an age of political dissolution, economic implosion, social chaos, demographic collapse, and mass migration, the factors that maintain established ethnic divisions in place don’t last long. In their place, new ethnicities emerge. It’s a commonplace of history that dark ages are the cauldron from which nations are born.
via The Archdruid Report.