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skipped an archetype like time before last?
Back to the subject: although we are undeniably in Crisis mode, we have yet to experience the extreme trauma of a catastrophic war, an economic meltdown that lasted more than two years, or a breakdown of public authority. We could be on the brink of one or the other, but we are not there yet. Maybe the international structures make military cataclysm much less likely. Maybe central bankers know enough to stop bank runs of the sort that destroyed economies in 1931 and 1932. Maybe the prominent leaders dread nuclear weapons.

Economic distress is real, and demagogues are more likely to achieve power when economic distress is real and commonplace. The generational constellation is much like that in the late 1930s, with the Idealist generation comprising people from about 60 to the mid-seventies, a Reactive generation in midlife (mostly in their forties and fifties), and a Civic generation mostly in its twenties and thirties. People are living longer, which may keep some elderly Adaptive adults as possible wielders of power.

We are not at our best. The Idealist generation is heavily rifted and polarized. The Reactive generation still has much angry cynicism. The Civic generation holds much promise, but it is still wet behind the ears. We have yet to know what coalition will define the post-Crisis world. Should Donald Trump define it, then we might see an economy under the direction of a rentier class that sees its gain, power, and privilege as the sole acceptable purposes in the lives of Americans in a sordid plutocracy; a culture hostile to formal learning other than narrow training for economic roles; media reduced to propaganda outlets; and political life in which government represents wealth and bureaucratic power at the expense of all else. We could see a quasi-aristocratic order emerge, one repressive, inequitable, and hierarchical that has little to offer but mindless entertainment as a reward for acquiescence. Such an order tends to get involved in wars for profit that eventually go badly for the regime. Note also that repressive, inequitable, hierarchical societies are the ones most prone to revolution when the economy goes haywire or some military debacle occurs.

In effect a failed Crisis solves nothing and allows conditions to fester through a limited High, a muted Awakening, and a particularly vile Unraveling. Just imagine how dangerous the world gets if global warming takes off with resulting inundation of prime farmland upon which hundreds of millions of people depend upon for sustenance and with the potential for desertification of some productive farmland that the seas will not engulf. A world that can support seven billion people more comfortably than ever might end up unable to support five billion within a few decades. Does that suggest a world at peace?

It might be time to contemplate the next Crisis -- the Crisis of 2100. The world solved lots of problems as the result of the Crisis of 1940, weakening the colonial system (the Pacific zone of military operations was mostly over colonies of Japan, the United States, Britain, France, and the Netherlands, and the African part of the European-African zone was almost entirely over colonies -- the French and Italian colonial empires), discrediting 'scientific' racism, creating some more stable boundaries, eliminating the last vestiges of aristocratic power in central and southeastern Europe, and largely discrediting war as a solution for political and economic distress. On the other side of the issue, a major religion significant in shaping the moral values was decimated with no semblance of justification, and Communist tyranny spread in places in which it might otherwise have never had a chance -- and millions died in battle or of starvation.

What have we solved in America? We have recently legalized same-sex marriage, without qualification a good thing. Otherwise we have allowed our democratic heritage to erode. We can all cast blame, but we have no obvious solutions. "Make America Great Again", as says the Trump slogan? It makes me sick. Dump Trump and let liberals get a window of opportunity? The right-wing interests want such to fail so that those right-wing interests can tighten the screws even more at their next opportunity -- perhaps as early 2024, especially if the economy melts down and people will accept serfdom in return with the loss of all dignity in return for bare victuals and barracks-like housing. We have economic elites no higher in their morality than the planters of the antebellum South. The succession of Reagan-Dubya-Trump can lead to something even worse.

I  doubt that we have skipped an archetype. It is more likely that one or more of the current archetypes has failed in achieving the mission that History allots. As a Boomer, I look in the mirror and I see my generation whose cultural leaders defamed the flawed GI generation as 'pigs' and then whose administrative leaders in commerce and politics have themselves come to resemble the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm.  Sure, we Boomers have some good cultural output, but that will not be enough. The worst of my generation has prevailed so far, and it is entirely possible that the best of us will never get a chance to bring out the best. It is not that the system has structural failure built in; it is instead that time is running out for Boomers as a whole to solve much. The youngest of us turn 60 next year, and even if we are living longer due to better habits, our opportunity to reshape the world in ways different from the sick dreams of Donald Trump is closing. The Boom leadership has shown more of what Howe and Strauss see as Idealist tendencies at the worst (ruthlessness, selfishness, and arrogance) with few of the virtues (culture, principle, and vision) at the fore. My generation has yet to clean up its act and offer a viable alternative to the crass egoism of a would-be despot and of an economic elite that insists upon rigid rules for others but soft rules for itself.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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RE: skipped an archetype like time before last? - by pbrower2a - 05-12-2019, 05:25 AM

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