Declines, the secular equivalent of religion, and the crisis of modern civilization January 30th, 2017 •
The degeneration of the American system is often compared to the decline of the Roman Empire. The analog is apt, but incorrect: the obvious comparison is to the brevity of Athenian democracy in the uncanny dissipation in less than two centuries.
The parallel comparison to the decline of the Roman Republic is also relevant, but that process took five/six centuries. Both analogs are useful and revolve the unstated epochal logic clarified by our eonic model which shows the clear correlation of the onset of the American system at the end of the modern transition. That gave the American system a wallop but the result was limited from the start and required the major correction of the horrendous Civil War.
The swift degeneration of the American system is an ominous warning of what the system left to itself will become: worse and worse until the metaphor of the declinists turns correct.
The clear need for a new course correction emerges powerfully in the crisis of capitalism, the failures of globalization, and the calamity of climate change.
It is no accident that religion and empire correlated in the case of ancient Rome. In our case we can use the many potential resources of modernity beyond scientism/materialism (e.g. the course of the Reformation, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Feuerbach) to create the secular equivalent of religion and what we have called the ‘floating fourth turning point’: a social transformation to bring restored coherence to a decaying modernity. The legacy religions are too archaic while the fundamentalist marxism was too reductionist to do the job. This is a relatively simple thing to do if we can evade religious obsessions (which doesn’t mean being antireligion as such) and the Iron Cage mentality of scientism.
The fate of the American system is sealed at this point. It needs a thorough recompute, even as a lot of radical challenge went nowhere as the system got worse with Trump…