Can We Go On?

Stress deforms material. The stress placed on the system by a crisis deforms it, but the system is also constantly deformed by the stress between its isothymotic and megalothymotic forces[1]: between the drive to equality and that of making oneself exceptional. Human society itself is a contradiction of self-interests and a conflict of opposing interests. Perhaps, what is most amazing is that any large human group is able to hold itself together at all.

All is water, implied Thales. Perhaps we could conduct our examination as if the system were a fluid substance: a continuous, almost infinitely divisible thing. To describe its flow and try and make predictions for its future we would need to see it in terms of continuous variables depending on the actions and non-actions of its fluid particles: its individuals and their groupings, and massing, taking into account the speed, density and pressure of such movements; the stress applied against conflicting elements and the subsequent deformity. Deformity implies an elasticity – but where is the breaking point? Or is our system truly fluid in its nature so that it cannot break, it merely flows around, seeps in or is soaked up? Soaked up by what? Soaked into what? Flows around what?

 

…Hellenistic civilisation seeped into Asia and was soaked up by Rome – Rome seeped through Europe and the Middle east and suffered seepage from barbaric cultures that finally stagnated in a pool of Catholicism…

Can we go on?

Our global civilisation and its Wall Street Casino economy, bashed against the rocks of communism until it eroded it away before seeping into Islam which returned the seepage back into the now wide ocean of money culture, floating petrodollars that blend perfectly into Chinese yuans. It seems that little good will come of this: the flood of capitalism has almost drowned the entire globe. A total flood. Start building your arc.


[1] Isothymotic and megalothymotic are important terms used by Fukuyama in his END OF HISTORY AND THE LAST MAN. Fukuyama sees them as the two basic and contradictory forces in human nature. These terms are a combination of the Greek prefixes “iso”, expressing equality, and “mega” great, put together with thymos, which Fukuyama reduces to as “esteem” or “dignity”. Megalothymos is therefore the esteem-searching drive to be great or superior, whereas isothymos is a dignity-based desire to cooperate and work together. Further interesting reading on the concept of Thymos can be found in Julian Jaynes THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND and in Peter Sloterdijk’s  RAGE AND TIME.

 

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