Friday, September 16, 2005

For the inmates of The System

It is interesting – albeit not pleasant – to
observe a civilization in freefall. Panglossian
optimists continue to hope – as they would at the
death-bed of a loved one – for a miracle to
reverse the terminal course. The belief that
someone in authority can change all of this; that
new leadership or new machinery can make us
better than we are, continues to drive minds that
have been conditioned in institutional thinking.
Most of us have simply accepted, with little
examination, the statist premise so well
articulated by Jacques Ellul: “[w]e believe that
for the world to be in good order, the state must
have all the powers.” “Waiting For a Leader,” the
title of a New York Times editorial written in
response to New Orleans, reflects the same
pathetic attitude one saw on the faces of victims
at the convention center in New Orleans. This
inclination is as fatal to a society as it is to
those who passively await salvation by the state.

Western civilization will not be saved by the
same forces that are destroying it. Einstein said
it best: “a problem cannot be solved by the same
thinking that created it.” Neocons and other
deluded minds continue to dream of empire, as
though the arrow of time can be reversed and, in
the process, resurrect the fantasized world of
Roman emperors or Napoleon. While the pretenders
at various Washington, D.C. think-tanks continue
to fancy themselves in purple and ermine robes,
the realities upon which the world functions will
continue their incessant march toward the
decentralized, horizontally-networked systems
that are rapidly displacing the command-and-
control vertical structures that have long
dominated mankind.

That just about covers it.