An era that began in the 15th century may be coming to an end, and though we should hardly expect neat, quick and final solutions to the problems it has created, there is reason for hope. Humanity faces potential calamities both in social and natural environments, but we may also be entering an age of peace and prosperity. If we continue the western dualist mode of profit or loss, win or lose, either one or the other, and do not create balance between extremes, failure seems certain.
Our numerous dilemmas can be described as political, or economic, or natural, if dealt with in the failing model. But most of our problems are directly related to the system of political economics which treats all of nature, including humanity, as profit creating commodities for sale, purchase, rent or hire in a market. This social reality is accompanied by the attempted shaping of individuals into ethical, moral beings, in total contradiction to the antithetical immorality of the profit or loss system which rules the marketplace, and most subdivisions of religious franchise within its massive global mall.
Shattering any balance between individual and social behavior can make it possible for humans to attend a church, temple or mosque, seek guidance through immaterial spirituality, and perform material acts of love, charity and humanity through these religious organizations. Then, stepping out of religion and into material reality of another kind, they can be manipulated into supporting racial hatred, theft, cheating and the mass murder of wars. Separating the self and the society in this destructive way has offered a rationale for all our worst social behaviors. The present age is one in which the overarching rule of nature seems to be telling us, at least those willing and able to heed its message, that the natural world can no longer tolerate such treatment. Much of humanity, especially the great majority who have borne the burdens of what we call western civilization, is also indicating that they can no longer tolerate living in a way that makes it possible for a minority to lavish in luxury while billions live in squalor, pain and misery.
Many would call this an age old story which mankind has been involved in for millennia, and they would be at least partly correct. What is new is that the condition of injustice is not only being found intolerable by growing numbers of humans, but by nature itself. If this epoch does not pass into history with some form of uncharacteristic grace because of democratic decisions made by reasonably enlightened and hopeful people, it may well go out in the worst tragedy mankind has ever experienced, outside of mythology and legend.
The handwriting has long been on the wall, but even with a new leadership which seems to have the capacity to read, there is still a serious lack of comprehension. Instead of seeing a profound message for radical change, they are reading graffiti which they think can be safely erased by a new coat of paint. An emerging global majority must take action and control away from the destructive forces of the status quo. We need to understand that humanity can no longer be economized, socialized and governed in the same way that it has been during this era, because nature itself, both through its social populations in revolt, and its natural systems in breakdown, will no longer allow it.
The political economics of our time began in the latter part of the 15th century, when europe discovered, developed and colonized much of the rest of the world. That same age was one of invasion, slavery and mass terror for those who had the misfortune to be discovered, developed and colonized. Long struggles helped end overt colonialism after the second world war,though it began anew in Palestine. But the neo colonialism of the west continues to this day, with domination of much of the world still coming from western capitalism, enforced by massive military power. While imperial capital is still capable of mass destruction and murder beyond any previous earthly force, it’s total rule is coming to an end. That is good news for humanity, but it is provoking hysteria among those most wedded to the dying order. And these hysterics are armed with nuclear weapons, which they have used in the past and threaten to use in the future, while they rail about alleged threats coming from those they have abused for centuries.
Some see the present crisis as limited to finance capital, but it is much more serious than that. If finance is the brain of capitalism, then capitalism is simultaneously suffering from alzheimers, AIDS, and terminal cancer. The short term drug relief brought by public financed bailouts for private wealth and increased imperial force in foreign countries cannot sustain racial supremacy and class injustice much longer. They may give the patient hallucinogenic visions of a continued future for this system of waste and despair that the planet and its people can no longer abide. But before this malevolence passes, it could destroy everything previously built, along with all those who labored to build it, and whose lands were drained of life for the wealth of some western nations.
Global terrorism did not originate on 911 or in the Middle East. It began with the imperial conquest of centuries past, and its end will mean emancipation for all the people of the world. Can they, can we, bring it about before the worst case scenario is realized? We need to not only say, yes we can, but do it. And we’d better hurry.