As the world descends into chaos, history tells us that it has all happened before. Civilizations rise and fall as if by some natural law of human behavior. Some feel that a civilizational collapse is now almost inevitable; that the events of the past have built up historical momentum that is unstoppable. “It happened before so it will happen again.”
When Donald Trump was president, some people talked about “the rise of fascism,” and compared Trump to Hitler. This is an example of our almost knee-jerk reaction to current events as we compare them to what happened in the past. There’s a feeling that history MUST repeat itself.
Historians try to describe the cycles of history. A popular formulation has been detailed by Strauss and Howe in their generational theory.
According to this theory of history, each generation grows up in a certain cultural and historical era, and the cycles of history proceed in four steps of approximately 20 years in every person’s lifetime (80 years), which the authors called turnings: The first turning is called the High, and it always occurs after a crisis, where individualism is weak and society is confident about where it wants to go collectively. “The most recent High began in 1946 and ended with the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.” If you lived during that time you understand how much excitement there was in the US as the country became the world’s leading economy. The High is followed by the Awakening, where young people look back at the previous High as an era of cultural and spiritual poverty. “The US's most recent Awakening was the ‘Consciousness Revolution,’ which spanned from the campus and inner-city revolts of the mid-1960s to the tax revolts of the early 1980s.” Yup. If you have that lived experience, that’s exactly what it was like. Then comes the Unraveling, where institutions become corrupted and unresponsive to society because people become complacent. This occurred in the US during the economic boom that began in the 1980s to the early 2000s (before the crash in 2008) and led to the culture war between liberal and conservative values. The Unraveling leads to a Crisis (a “Fourth Turning”), which is usually accompanied by war and where institutions fall apart and are rebuilt. That’s where we are now.
Will history repeat itself again?
Explanations for human mass behavior all have one common element: Human nature has been the same throughout history, and it will always be the same into the foreseeable future. This leads to the idea of an unstoppable “historical momentum” that overwhelms society. It is based around a historical concept called the forces of history. Historical forces, it is said, have the power to affect people, and society, over multiple generations.
People have tried to make sense of the human experience over the past 6,000 years by trying to find common elements that drive human behavior. This is an admirable undertaking because if we can discover underlying elements to human behavior we can avoid the wars and the pestilence that has often made human societies miserable.
Sadly, we haven’t been able to do that. Although we have miraculous modern technology, human beings are still killing each other off at a frightening rate.
This is a substack about the view from 40,000 feet, so let’s move our perspective upward. Let’s ask ourselves, “What is a human being?” “Why does human nature never change?”
The standard scientific answer to the first question has always been, “A human being is a bunch of protoplasm that has somehow attained consciousness through the accidental collision of quantum and biological and evolutionary forces.” The answer to the second question is that human nature never changes because human beings haven’t evolved very far past the animals, and are inherently crude, selfish creatures.
What kind of history would you expect from a consciousness like that?
The kind of history humanity has experienced for the past 6,000 years: periods of peace between wars and conflict.
The movers and shakers of “historical forces” have perceived humanity as a collection of meat bodies with no higher awareness. Our social scientists regard human beings as statistical variables, somewhat like quantum particles in a physics equation.
Perception is reality. An individual with such a debased conception of Self is mentally and emotionally stunted. There is no spiritual connection to the Creative Source, the source of harmony, love, and cooperation. Our secular god, ScienceTM, doesn’t acknowledge anything beyond the physical body. ScienceTM serves secular and materialist political narratives that regard humans as something to be chipped, monitored, and controlled like lab rats (for our own good).
Unless humans change their conception about who they are, we aint going to make it. That’s obvious now after 6,000 years of recorded human history. You can’t solve a problem with the same consciousness that created the problem. The solution to human misery revolves not around new governments or new policies, but a new consciousness.
The old ideas and the old paradigms don’t work, and won’t work no matter how many times we tweak the system.
I’ve written a previous blog post that talks about the new track of history. Now I’m going a step further, suggesting that we need to create a new consciousness for humanity. We have to break out of the box of old thinking, and understand that the solution to seemingly intractable problems requires a clean break with the past, and with old, failed ideas about who we are. Something like this: “We are on a fresh, clean track of human history. What happened in the past does not have to repeat itself because human beings can take control of their collective and individual destinies.”
“That’s dumb,” you say. “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.” (The origin of this quote likely comes from philosopher George Santayana, who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”)
This old saw is simply a belief; a remnant of the old conception of human thinking. “Civilizations have collapsed over and over throughout history, so it must be a natural law of human evolution. Here we go again.”
Looking to the past to solve future problems merely perpetuates the old consciousness that caused the problems in the first place. We unthinkingly place on our future timeline the mistakes of the past. And we do this consciously.
Maybe something like this would be better: “Those who fail to create a bright future will default to the old, failed, past.”
It all depends on what you focus on. Successful people might learn from the past but they are always focusing on the brighter future they are creating.
In the past, these suggestions were utter nonsense and a delusional departure from reality. But that was before the population explosion and the creation of a worldwide messaging system. Now, humanity has the chance for a true, planet-wide awakening during the next 80-year period of history.
“No,” you say, “history will always re-cycle in a similar way because human nature never changes.”
I would like to point out that this statement is just an assumption; a belief. Admittedly, it is a belief that the vast majority of human beings have always held. But it is a self-destructive belief. Fortunately, that is changing. The institutions that have run the world since the end of World War 2 (the last Fourth Turning) are falling apart because of their lack of integrity. They are falling apart because their view of human nature is flawed.
Isn’t 6,000 years of failure enough to convince people that maybe, somewhere in the human belief system about itself, we got it wrong?
Human nature isn’t fixed in stone, it is not an inevitable and immovable historical force. As the finance guys say, “Past results are not an indicator of future performance.” Human nature is simply the individual (and collective) BELIEF of humanity about itself, about what it is. And those beliefs can be altered, consciously.
The old beliefs about human nature are being demonstrated every day as the dead-heads and Transhumanist sociopaths who run the world’s governments and institutions expose themselves and show us what they think of human beings and human nature.
“Sorry, it’s not that simple,” you say. “You can’t change the beliefs of people unless by force. That’s been tried by every dictator in human history.”
Yup. And it’s being tried again. But now human beings have the planet-wide connections to stop it. We have to take a step back and look at what we’re doing.
Our belief systems aren’t working, and they are the crux of the problem. They result in a consciousness that creates poverty, war, and injustice, and in actions and institutions that don’t benefit the majority of humanity.
The solution is esoteric. It’s about a true definition of consciousness that is more than neurons firing in a meat brain.
The good news? People are waking up to this idea, which has been popularized in the phrase, “The Great Awakening.” This just means that people are sick and tired of the old human belief systems and want to create new ones. So let’s do that. Here’s a radical new idea: Let’s go up to 40,000 feet and engage in a house cleaning of the human psyche. Why not start a new consciousness movement that outlines a radical departure from the “Human Beings Are Hamburger” theory of human consciousness? Let’s see where that gets us.
Merely changing governments or policies isn’t going to change human consciousness because these changes are rooted in the same consciousness that caused the problems in the first place. The old solutions won’t work anymore. And we’re running out of time. The world is ready for this now.
So: Instead of focusing on the sordid lessons of history, how about we put our attention on a new idea about human history and human evolution? Let’s consciously abandon the old track and create a new, fresh track of human evolution without all of the old encumbrances. We can do that if we place our focus on creating a better future and ignoring past failures instead of letting the past rule and dictate our future actions. Action follows thought. Sound silly or impossible? What’s silly and impossible is the same old shit, the same old doubts, the same old degraded conceptions of what a human being is. Let’s change that. We can do this by enough of us agreeing that the Ship of Humanity is sailing on clear seas with a fresh new breeze propelling us into a benevolent future.