History occurs in cycles. Empires rise. Empires fall. Populations ebb and flow. Economies shrink and grow. There truly is no greater conqueror than time.
It is slowly becoming more evident to people that things are not going to be all sunshine and happiness and gay marriages going into the future (although given the inevitability of the third one can at least bet on that happening at least somewhat). The United States, and perhaps the entire western world, are coming down off the most recent temporal apogee of economic, technological, and geopolitical influence.
It has happened in the past. It will happen again in the future. People seem to lose track of that. I attribute this to not enough focus on the big picture.
It really is vital that you read the above links before you continue, in order. They offer a model of how society collapses, as well as views and commentary of where in the model we are now and what the scenery looks like from our vantage point.
I’ve read a fair amount of material debating and analyzing whether there is a collapse coming, what form it will take, how best to prepare for it. I’ve pored over demographic numbers, boned up on generational theory, kept a keen eye on geopolitical tensions, spent inordinate amounts of time deconstructing powerful ideologies I believe are dysfunctional and harmful, and become so familiar with basic economics that I have the grounds to accuse it of date rape. After all of that, I can confidently say that I have no idea what is going to happen.
Which isn’t to say that I’m not going to try to make a few predictions. What I believe is that from now until around 2018 or so, things (I use “things” in the most annoyingly vague sense you could possibly imagine here) are going to steadily deteriorate. There’s too much ambiguity to make any meaningful predictions, but I shall do what I can. There will be small-scale protests at the Russian Olympics for gay rights, but not large ones. Barring drastic circumstances, a democrat will be elected to the office of US presidency in 2016. Nationalist parties will achieve ever greater levels of support. Peace will not spontaneously break out in the Middle East. That’s about all I’ve got so far.
The time frame from 2018-2025 will be the dark times. Something big will happen toward the beginning of this time frame (give or take a few years) that in the far future will be viewed as the moment of collapse, even though the events that will set whatever it is into motion have no doubt already started. Will it be war, depression, civil unrest (i.e. urban riots), New World Order, any combination of the above…etc? I have no idea, although I do believe that whatever happens will involve a greater level of violence than many are used to. This event will probably be big enough and significant enough for you to know what it for what it is when it happens.
This is where most people stop thinking. It’s enough for them that something drastic is coming, and they begin prepping, freaking out, sounding the alarm, or whatever their personal preference happens to be.
What no one ever seems to think about though, it what to do next. The next 10-15 years are going to be exceedingly interesting, and provide a shock to the system that most of us will have never seen in our lifetimes. There ‘s going to be a fair amount of “patching up” that needs to be done.
Don’t expect to survive that long? Revise your expectations. Previous crises, like the American Civil War, the Great Depression, the Fall of Rome, and the Holocaust all had ample numbers of survivors. If you have at least 15-20 years of life expectancy left, you’ll more likely than not weather the storm.
So beyond 2025, what will happen? I see several possibilities.
- The first is a new Dark Age, similar to when Rome fell. Life expectancy, literacy, technological advancement, and standard of living will all fall, and humanity is just going to have to claw its way back up.
- Another is the break-up of the United States. Whether by region, demographics, religion, or other form of distinction, the United States will become a bit less united.
- A Golden Age of humanity emerges in which we achieve unprecedented and unparalleled levels of technological and economic growth. Will we achieve post-scarcity? The Singularity? Perhaps interstellar travel will be developed, or in time all of the above. Anything will become possible.
- Empire. Out of the ashes of a great war (I believe an international one is much more likely than a civil one), a single faction emerges to seize utter control. Supreme power no longer rests in the hands of previous regimes, but in a new order. The Age of Caesars begins.
- Orwellian Dystopia. Privacy is finally abolished. Big Brother is always watching. Freedom (and individual virtue) is crushed under the iron fist of whatever power reigns supreme.
- Malaise and Malingering. The developed world limps through economic turmoil, and while things never really get better, people are able to make do and get by. Racial tensions remain high barring earlier civil unrest, and many people have moved away from liberal-leaning philosophies toward those more advantageous for their own survival.
The first thing that many of you will see is that several of these aren’t necessarily incongruent with each other. A Orwellian dystopia, for example, might arise out of prolonged economic stagnation. An Imperial takeover of a large Western country could reinvigorate growth and development. Alternatively, something unforeseen entirely could occur.
The takeaway here? The future is uncertain, and few scenarios are too implausible to consider. A prudent individual would take precautions, and yet, how can one prepare for something when it it uncertain what it to be prepared for?
Sounds like fertile ground for a future post.
VIRTUS TENTAMINE GAUDET