After reaching its weakest point for three days as far as earth is concerned, the sun once more begins to strengthen to reach the peak in six months.
This fact learned many many centuries ago, is the basis of primary symbolism for almost all religions.
It’s a comforting story of birth and revival, and thus the basis of joy and celebration across the globe.
Yet it’s a symbolic story of death too. A year has gone, with it soon to be revived in a new year.
2019 has in many ways been one of the most difficult year for a generation. It opened with the French rising, and it closes with Brexit certainty.
The calls for liberty have arguably never been louder than this year since the birth of the millennial generation greeted the 90s peace that followed the reunification of Europe.
While such calls previously were limited to a continent or region, this year makes them remarkable for their global nature.
A transition of power is underway as our parents begin departing and we become the parents.
That can make these times dangerous, but they are also good reason for cheer and optimism.
For it’s a chance of renewal, it’s a chance of adaptation, it’s a chance to see old problems with new eyes, and hopefully address at least to some extend at least some of them.
The Rise of Millennials
Most remarkably there is no ideology for this generation. They rose so far mainly as a warning, not to impose some sort of new system.
Capitalism has won almost totally to some extent, but there remains that question of governance and in particular, there remains that problem of turtles all the way down with authority being the decision to stop at just one turtle down.
The rise of this idea of a Citizens’ Assembly this year is a powerful one because it appears self evident that there should be a “jury” of ordinary people that at least act as a talking shop, but the aim of course so being that if it does work reasonably well then they should even have the power – alongside other houses of parliament or congress – to say yes or no to war.
The necessity of this, is perhaps inevitable as this generation in particular has seen just how much of a facade elections can be.
They are of course better than no elections at all, but no one system on its own can be sufficient or resilient.
As the ancient greeks found, according to the articulation of Polybius, any one governance system on its own degenerates:
“Monarchy first changes into its vicious allied form, tyranny; and next, the abolishment of both gives birth to aristocracy. Aristocracy by its very nature degenerates into oligarchy; and when the commons inflamed by anger take vengeance on this government for its unjust rule, democracy comes into being; and in due course the licence and lawlessness of this form of government produces mob-rule to complete the series.”
That being democracy falls into oligarchy, which turns into aristocracy, which so is led by a king, that can be a tyrant, and thus we go in a cycle.
The suggestion was to create a balancing system of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, which generally works but how do you balance the balance?
In particular, how do you prevent the oligarchy from turning democracy into merely an illusion, so creating a disbalance which then turns on the cycle above?
A Citizens’ Assembly could potentially be an answer because it could potentially be the only way of keeping check on the purchase of democracy.
The above probably explains to some extent why the protests this year have been somewhat fiery and so widespread across continents and cultures.
The Problem of Problems
How to solve problems is in itself a very big problem which at the extreme can lead to complete paralysis or, at the other end, idiotic rigidness.
The complicated nature of this matter has been on display in cryptos where millennials have the pleasure of experiment with what they please to the harm of no one and without requiring anyone’s permission.
This liberty you’d think would lead to an explosion of experimentation in governance, but the biggest problem of this “problem of problems” may be the fact it is a commons problem.
As in, no one quite has much of an incentive on their own to solve it because by definition it takes the solver out of the equation.
So there hasn’t been much experimentation in governance, if in fact any, despite the incredible ease digitization now offers for such experimentation.
In short, imagination is almost dead in some ways, and that can be a considerable problem, yet 90% of solving it is first seeing it, which hopefully we just have.
If thus there are no incentives or mechanisms for the problem of problems to be solved, how do we get some?
The answer might be the revival of… how to put it. By an example perhaps.
When religion ruled, many smart men – and sometime in disguise women too – were provided earthly pleasures pretty much for free.
The peasants and kings subsidized what has been caricatured as prisons, but were in fact the primary thinking institutions of the dark ages.
The monasteries kept ancient knowledge and taught as well as developed logics and much else. They were in fact the light in darkness.
From there much else came, beginning with alchemy and so on as priests tried to banish “deamons” by earthly manners.
The “witches” of course were the ones that were trying to get this knowledge out of the monasteries. Hysteria in the “inquisition” followed a sufficiently sized “knowledgable” class that went through the monastery, but was now outside of it.
The imposition of authority over what was now itself authority – educated people – necessarily failed, with that historic translation of the bible into common language by Luther so casting away the real spell.
Gradually this… not rejection of authority but erm, this process where to be new one had to caricature and even scapegoat the old, has led to a stage where the good bits of the old are completely forgot, if recognized at all.
The suggestion is not the return of monasteries, the suggestion is to recognize the – perhaps even vital – role this model played in advancing our ability to solve problems.
More importantly, in recognizing the erasure of money within this “sacred” bubble, where thus freed from earthy needs one could engage in the more heavenly task of figuring out how to solve the commons problems.
The Spell of Money
It is taken for granted that money is an incentive mechanism for people to do what is productive, but there are some people who actually are not incentivized by money.
That’s heresy in many ways, but the “incentivization” of money is the “necessity” to eat bread, and its “liberation” is the “freedom” to “enslave” others. To call it more clearly, until a certain level, money is a chain and an enslaver, not a liberator.
That makes the distribution of money an existential matter because if certain problems are not solved, man is no more.
Yet the question of how money should be distributed is not discussed much, even though it is a vital question.
Capitalism is of course one answer. You provide a service, and you get money for it. Yet that answer ignores the necessity to first have resources to provide such service.
Ignores it where intellect – for an incredible lack of a better word – is concerned. Where need comes to play it is not quite ignored, the welfare state provides for it.
This very zoomed in view of the big picture thus suggests in the middle ages they subsidized merit, while in our age we subsidize need.
The churches of old of course housed the ill too, but in our age we appear to have ignored the recognition of a certain disposition which could make far better use of subsidy if freed from the money chain.
The nature of entropy means regression is inevitable if effort is not exerted towards progression.
That is why we strive for bigger, faster, stronger, and higher. Something we have to do to just keep the current, but with a bit more effort, hopefully to advance it too.
By that measure 2019 has perhaps been the most productive year of the entire decade.
That presumes good reason and good ability at adapting on some parts, but even without it, this shaking of towers should hopefully produce some good sense.
Meaning the seeds for a revival have been planted and that should hopefully make for a very joyful Christmas.
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