Monday, July 4, 2016

Integral Trump, or, the Center Cannot Hold

"But I have no power to make other men see the truth . . .”—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
We are progressing deeper into a most dangerous period of human history, a period whose beginnings we can trace to the years between the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party in 1991.  Elements of human social, cultural, and political economic development—dynamics of the Trimemetic War—are splintering and diverging in ways too numerous, subtle, and unprecedented to properly keep track of.

I originally sketched out the contours of the Trimemetic War ten years ago in a series of essays entitled “Three Blind Memes,” where I wrote:
Let us look at our world today. Green is struggling to emerge and replace Orange in the advanced sector. Given the intensity of the civil war between them, it is perhaps not surprising that Green has yet to prevail. Still, in two generations it has secured a solid foothold. Orange is struggling to emerge and replace Amber is two critical areas of the world, China and India, as well as in lesser economic powerhouses like Russia, South Africa, Brazil, and the nations of Eastern Europe. We see Amber tribal states like Iran and Pakistan, where Orange has only a tentative presence, seeking the benefit of its technology by developing nuclear power with its potential for conversion to weaponry.
Written after 9/11 but before the collapse of the housing bubble with all the attendant collateral damage in 2008, we simply note that the centrifugal forces driving disintegration of the modern political economic institutions of the post-World War II era are accelerating.

They are accelerating in great part for two principle reasons: first, on a daily basis the dynamics of our Information Age political economy introduce exponentially greater disrupters of previously reliable structures and containers; and second, the “hole in the soul” of the Advanced Sector introduced when modernity split from our premodern, tribal past remains grievously aching and raw, its unhealed pain in our collective subconscious demanding more and more of us even as we seem increasingly powerless to respond effectively.