This is as cogent a description of what I see going on in the political/economic world as I've found anywhere, aside from their proposed remedy.

How are Friends contributingto the quandary described -- and how can we best be led to a human, humane response?

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I wonder about this term "Western Civilization" and what it really means.  China has the most trains and freeways now right?  Are we talking about systems of government?  Maybe we should switch our attention to "Eastern Civilization" if what we mean by "Western" has become that unstable.  Let it go?  It was ugly anyway.  The new civilizations will be more global and not cling to hemispheric terminology. I'll put my eggs in new baskets.

It's all one anymore, Kirby. China has been far more influenced recently by Western technology than by say Confucianism or Taoism... And the whole what-you-call-it is tightly interlinked. Maybe they could grow while we shrank, but ... We go, they come with.

If it's all one then I think it's time to drop this term "Western" as antediluvian.  I don't think it's all crumbling, just some psychologies (mindsets) are.  That's why death is a good thing.  We want noobs who don't think like people born in the 1900s.  That's what's going away: people schooled in 20th century thinking.  Good riddance? I know that sounds cold, but I think we all pay the wages of sin and that's a feature, not a bug.

We have an intricate machinery with human moving parts that works to sustain most of us at whatever level of comfort or discomfort we know.

It's not stable if anything breaks the flow of symbolic tokens that this machinery is programmed to generate and accept as control signals.

At that point we'd be trying to run a gift economy with people who haven't been socialized into that sort of system --  but are accustomed to working from those deplorable mindsets you'd like to have go away. Maybe they would change their minds, maybe not. People do come through in disasters very well sometimes. Other times, not so well.

From a God's eye view we'd just be moving from 'onstage to offstage.' People, however, tend to take mortality personally, even more so when they find themselves observing a dieoff.

Maybe you don't see the suffering that's already occurring from dysfunctions in the current arrangements?

Looking back over history, of disease, pestilence, wars, slavery, major dislocations, cataclysms... I readily agree a 'Welcome to Hell Planet' might be apropos at the entrance. But then God made us with the ability to suffer and have courage, so as a species, not as individual personalities, we've made it through several milestones, and are realizing that even with these limited bodies, we're able to invent and develop in many surprising directions. The "die off" I'm observing, that keeps making room for new ideas to come forward, as a part of God's plan, is just the daily work of the Grim Reaper, not a disaster and nothing new. Protesting mortality is not really an option.  We're built to start over, over and over.

Forrest and Kirby … just working through this … free write …

“The question is, how can we manage to preserve some kind of humane world as we make our way through these changes?”

The author assumes the readers agree with the cause and nature of the changes she highlights. She asks how can we preserve a humane world is the face of the changes she assumes are happening or suggests will happen. Is her question an acknowledgment that we live in a relatively humane world now? Is Western Civilization humane? Is she suggesting that “Western Civilization” is relatively humane and that this humane nature of Western Civilization should be preserved? But there is even a deeper assumption built into her question … the ability to “manage” in order to “preserve.”

She quotes a person who suggests that: “Using reason and science to guide decisions, paired with extraordinary leadership and exceptional goodwill, human society can progress to higher and higher levels of well-being and development…” Can we manage in order to preserve a humane world society through the use of reason and science? Wait … the use of reason and science to nurture humane society and human relationships and interactions is the the basic foundation of Western Civilization since the 16th or 17th century.

Did the natural or innate light of reason and the method of science it nurtured in Western Civilization ‘serve’ up humane social order? Clearly, many of her readers will agree that Western Civilization “could collapse.” Many may even hope for the collapse. But would they agree that reason and science are the foundation of Western Civilization and that the relatively humane social order it fostered and nurtured should be preserved through the use of the very same natural light of reason that is the corner stone of Western Civilization and the humane social order it established?

Maybe this natural light of reason and the scientific method it birthed are insufficient tools when used to manage human relationships and interrelations? The natural light of outward reason and the method of science are wonderful tools to observe the natural world and to understand mechanics and fashion mechanisms as outward helps for the physical wants or needs of human beings. Are they sufficient and sustainable tools to “manage” human being humanely?

Right at the beginnings of the increase of and focus upon the natural light of reason and the establishment of the scientific method in the 16th and 17th centuries, it happened that a group of people spoke of another LIght. This Light came upon them and into their conscience which is the LIght’s throne. These Quakers spoke of an inshining Light that anchored and informed their relationships. They spoke of a different Light within them that could better guide and inform society and admonished against anchoring society upon the outward reflections, ideas, notions, and institutions, of the natural light of outward reason. These Quakers know and knew a spiritual Light that replaced the natural light of reason to guide and inform society. They experienced that by focusing the mind on this Light they were come out of identification with the outward political and religious forms manifested through the natural light of reason or reflective consciousness to guide human being. This inshining Light itself in itself fostered and nurtured humane social relationships by bringing people out of identification with outward ideological and institutional constructs which is the source of disunity, war, and the collapse of societies. It is the mis-use of these tools of the natural light of reason and the method of science to guide, inform, govern, and manage human relationships that is the source behind the collapse of human society large and small. Identification with the outward constructs of natural reason and the method and practice of science as tools to manage human beings is in-humane in that it is the imposition of and mid-use of outward tools upon human being and relationships for which they are insufficient and just not meant for.

Quakers can and are contributing to the manifestation of a sustainable and eternal humane human being and society to the extent that they hold to and mind the sufficiency of the inshining Light in their conscience and conscious as their guide, anchor, rule, and government itself in itself. And furthermore, to the extent that the testimony to the witness of the inshining Light is shared with others. This inshining witness offers a different way than identification with the outward constructions and institutions of the natural light reason and the method of science to “manage” human beings and relationships and exposes the use of this natural light to guide and govern people as inhumane.

As I said, her suggested remedy was somewhat silly.

I don't think one is permitted to publish a diagnostic article without proposing some kind of 'solution.' (That's one reason I prefer to describe our collective physical and social situation as a 'quandary', rather than a 'problem'. You know and I know that for many mathematics questions, "No solution" is a perfectly valid answer, even the correct answer -- but we aren't living in a mathematics problem.)

Analogously to a human body, when the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the feet is so constricted as to pool up blood in the head, you've got a very sick social body. Given the peculiar faculty of cancer cells to direct the growth of new blood vessels into a tumor, the analogy to the perverse counterfeit capitalism of the day seems quite strong to me.

Given the interdependence of our various systems for distributing goods, bads and disservices -- and our perverse collective denial of the effects of our activities on the carrying capacity of the Earth -- this does look likely enough a terminal condition, in which I can only pray for a miracle cure.

Yes, Keith, we do all have a divine pointer to truth at work within us all.

Can we all follow it to the extent of admitting that what we-all have been doing so far has started to fail, and looks all-too-likely to fail catastrophically?

"Not announcing our fall, but begging us

in God's name to have self-pity."

[Richard Wilbur in 'Advice to a Prophet']

Truly, "All things work for good for those who love God"; but if we don't want to have to reach that good through a cast-of-billions Cecil B. DeMill rendition of "The Apocalypse", I don't think we serve God or Humankind well by denying the condition we-all have brought ourselves to.

"Can we all follow it (divine pointer) to the extent of admitting that we we-all have been doing so far has started to fail, and looks al-too-likely to fail catastrophically."

I'm not sure following the divine pointer by default results in a conviction of catastrophe. I am sure that, in the divine pointer, we are come out of the fear of catastrophe whether or no it manifests and it is discovered unto us peace even in the midst of catastrophe.

We may not need to fear anything; but there've been a great many friends of mine dead and/or damaged over the years; it isn't like we get to look down and enjoy the show from the Celestial Bleachers or like that.

Long run... I know the love of God is invincible. Short run: People hurt.

We can't do anything we aren't led to do, can't accomplish anything worthwhile if we take on jobs that aren't our task, could invent a worse cure than the disease --

but "from he who has been given much, much will be required," yes?

BTW, I do like Chris Hedges, he's just so doomy gloomy, which I associate with fire and brimstone preachers. Glad to see he's on RT, such a better network than CNN:

Frances Moore Lappé is more upbeat. Our Quaker meeting's Climate Change Study Group (since disbanded, ad hoc) was really into her book Ecomind:

Diagnosing the people one disagrees with isn't just a bad idea; it's a distraction.

The Earth won't care who we like or dislike, won't care whether we guessed right or guessed wrong. When the way you think and feel can make the rain fall, then let us know whom you like in the Rant Biz.

If you really want to know why we've got no justice, no peace, and no democracy you'd do better to read .

Our Urner household is in a somewhat jubilant mood these days, as the long awaited Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty has passed the General Assembly, Iran a chief supporter. The loser nuke head nations say "this doesn't apply to us" and the more cowardly actually boycotted the whole process.  I sneer in their general direction. Mom (WILPF, age 88) deserves to have her hope, her time in the sun.  We can despair another day.


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