I personally think some “major shit is going down” as we used to say early in my youth. Life doesn’t run smoothly even when it is running smoothly, it comes in bunches, in fits and starts. Statisticians know clusters occur and folk wisdom also shows an appreciation of this in sayings such as, “things happen in threes.”
Most of these patterns are beyond our perception but sometimes we see small segments of them and name them.
Now I’m not going to give too much significance to these occurrences, BUT there does seem to be something happening. Human culture does have patterns that we name. Systems of human organization we have named include: social, political, economic, kinship, religious, legal, technology, and language. All these systems have fluid trajectories and sometimes these system trajectories are at odds with each other. Our economic system is at odds with our political system. One is designed to create surplus and accumulation by the few while our political system supports the distribution of surplus through infrastructure and social programs. Our society arose in an overall environment of plenty where frontiers existed and more bounty was just over the horizon.
But we now have 7 billion people on this earth and we are in the middle of massive planet-wide shifts environmentally that will change every thing. Individuals can chose to believe in whatever they want to, but that is not likely to change the global patterns of which we are but a small part.
Social systems will change if we are to survive. Several systems that have been growing in incompatible directions are readjusting in ways that are difficult for those of us within the system to appreciate. Distribution of influence versus consolidation of influence have been vying with each other for for centuries.
Monarchies are on the way out. But the inheritance of wealth and prestige still very much exists. We no longer think our rulers are gods, but we seem to mostly believe that our rulers have a singular god on their side. We espouse equality, but we look the other way when powerful people rape children. We say that our country is based on freedom and equality, but wealth is consolidated among 1% and the freedom of the individual is waning while more and more groups are asserting their supposed right to inflict their will on the individual. These groups are corporations, religions, and military-economic alliances, yet groups were not supposed to have the same rights as people in this county because the founders were trying to rid themselves of the tyranny of Crown backed corporations that were given massive land grants in the New World as well as the tyranny of state sanctioned religions. People in the newly United States were to be free of corporate rule and free to believe as they wished without state intrusion into religious thought.
What is happening in the U.S. seems like a left leaning realignment toward individual rights with restraints placed on those that would “rule” rather than govern, after an orchestrated power grab over the last few decades by those who would see themselves as “rulers.”
In my next post I will look at this past weeks significant newsworthy developments with an eye toward what these significant and competing cultural processes at work in the world today might signify culturally. These are: Occupy groups, the outing of corrupt college sports empires that had been covering up serial child rape for decades, the ouster of the architect of the institutionalized racism of AZ SB 1070, a conservative southern Christian state decided to retain a woman’s right to choose, a conservative rust belt state decided to reinstate collective bargaining. And even internationally there are signs that powerful men might not be getting away with morally reprehensible acts as Dominique Strauss-Kahn is now being linked to a French prostitution scandal.