Tag Archives | Civilization

Empathic Civilization in an Age of Trauma

Pic: Trilobite2 (CC)

Pic: Trilobite2 (CC)

Robert D. Stolorow writing in Psychology Today:

In my work over the last two decades attempting to grasp the nature of emotional trauma (http://www.psychoanalysisarena.com/trauma-and-human-existence-9780881634679, http://www.routledgementalhealth.com/world-affectivity-trauma-9780415893442), I have shown that its essence lies in the shattering of what I call the absolutisms of everyday life—the system of illusory beliefs that allow us to function in the world, experienced as stable, predictable, and safe. Such shattering is a massive loss of innocence exposing the inescapable contingency of our existence on a universe that is unstable and unpredictable and in which no safety or continuity of being can be assured. Emotional trauma brings us face to face with our existential vulnerability and with death and loss as possibilities that define our existence and that loom as constant threats.

I describe our era as an Age of Trauma because the tranquilizing illusions of our everyday world seem in our time to be severely threatened from all sides—by global diminution of natural resources, by global warming, by global nuclear proliferation, by global terrorism, and by global economic collapse.

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Robb Smith on Economics, World Crisis and More

robb09headshotKeith Martin-Smith’s Only Everything podcast recently had on entrepreneur Robb Smith. This thirty-eight minute interview covers a lot of ground, discussing the collapsing economy, the historical background of the situation and what the future is likely to be. A pretty wide-ranging conversation, moves along quickly, and there’s some good nuggets for consideration. Worth listening to.

From Only Everything:

Robb is a social entrepreneur who works on “transformational era” systems at the intersection of human development, education, spiritual understanding and civilizational sustainability. He holds a uniquely grand view of what’s happening in the world today and what makes Millennials unique.

We get into nothing short of the future of the world economy, human happiness, and where we’re heading in the next 5-6 decades.

We discuss:

  • How World War II transformed the American economy and fueled the emerging consciousness counterculture of the 60′s and the success of Gen X in the 90′s
  • How this economic foundation is in the process of collapsing
  • What happens when a culture like ours, focused on finding lives of “meaning”, has the economic rug pulled out from under it (hint: crisis)
  • How companies like Air B&B represent the downside and problem with technology interacting with brick-and-mortar industries, such as hospitality
  • Why it’s  better today  to be a Chinese teenager today than an American one (and not what you think)
  • Why the next great economic wave and business movement will and must move away from a winner-takes-all mentality to a “win-win” mentality, as represented by B-corps and conscious capitalism.

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MAGNASANTI: The Totalitarian Buddhist Utopia

Behold: The Totalitarian Buddhist civilization MAGNASANTI!

We all saw what a “hellish nightmare” the future could be in Civilization II, what with all the constant war and nuclear holocaust. Well, if that world wasn’t your cup of tea, here’s the perfect world you’ve been waiting for: MAGNASANTI. Constructed in Sim City 3000, MAGNASANTI is “The Final City” built entirely on the basis of perfect equilibrium, using the “Flower of Life” (Metatron’s Cube) for the foundation, MAGNASANTI is as much of a work of art as it is a disturbing glimpse into the future of urban planning.

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Do Rules Save Our Lives By Destroying Our Brains?

Is civilization the mind’s attempt to commit suicide? Via the Institute for Emerging Ethics and Technologies, Piero Scaruffi writes:

Ultimately, the most structured society will be a society in which every action has to comply with some rules, i.e. its citizens will de facto be robots with no brains. Why does brain/mind want to get rid of brain/mind?

Every animal tries to create some order around its natural environment. Likewise the history of human civilization is largely the attempt to control nature and structure life. Human societies are environments in which the chaos of nature is greatly reduced. This allows for humans to predict the future and therefore minimize threats to their survival.

One chaotic component of nature is humans themselves, the interaction among them. Societies invent rules and regulations to order and structure the interaction among humans. The process of turning children into adults is largely a process of forcing them to obey rules, from “good manners” to language itself.

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The Myth of Human Progress

Picture: Steve F-E-Cameron (CC)

Chris Hedges writes at Truthdig:

Clive Hamilton in his “Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change” describes a dark relief that comes from accepting that “catastrophic climate change is virtually certain.” This obliteration of “false hopes,” he says, requires an intellectual knowledge and an emotional knowledge. The first is attainable. The second, because it means that those we love, including our children, are almost certainly doomed to insecurity, misery and suffering within a few decades, if not a few years, is much harder to acquire. To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth—intellectually and emotionally—and continue to resist the forces that are destroying us.

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Are We Headed For A Future Without War?

Our vision of the future typically consists of a vast blighted landscape decimated by nuclear bombs or killer robot drones or battles to control the dwindling supply of water or oil, but a group of Norwegian researchers claim that warfare will become less and less common in coming decades. Could their simulations of a peaceful tomorrow be accurate, or is humanity doomed by aggressive urges? Via TIME:

Global conflicts have in fact been on a downward trend for the last half-century. And a group of researchers in Norway says their data indicates that the future could be even more peaceful.

In a paper soon to be published in International Studies Quarterly, Håvard Hegre, a professor of political science at the University of Oslo, claims that the number of ongoing conflicts will be halved by 2050 — with the greatest decrease coming in the Middle East.

Hegre, along with his colleagues at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, put together a statistical model that took into account factors such as infant mortality, education, youth population, ethnic make-up and conflict history.

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Images Which Will Be Found By Aliens Billions Of Years From Now

More on MIT artist in residence Trevor Paglen’s previously discussed Last Pictures project, which involves sending a satellite into permanent “graveyard orbit” whose cargo is a “nano-etched silicon disc” which will not deteriorate for billions of years. The disc will contain a hundred images to be seen by beings of the distant future, offering a window into the existence of humanity and planet Earth. Via Wired, the images selected for immortality are rather macabre, including:

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Space Satellites As Humanity’s Final Monuments

The spacecraft EchoStar XVI will beam trillions of images into the darkness and then enter an eternal “graveyard orbit”. Artist in residence at MIT Trevor Paglen on satellites as the new pyramids:

Currently, more than 800 spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit form a man-made ring of satellites around Earth. The dead spacecraft in orbit have become a permanent fixture around Earth, not unlike the rings of Saturn. They will be the longest-lasting artifacts of human civilization, quietly floating through space long after every trace of humanity has disappeared from the planet’s surface.

Presented by public art organization Creative Time, The Last Pictures is a project to acknowledge these spacecraft as the monuments of our historical era. They are our Pyramids, our Stonehenge, and our Nazca lines.

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World Becomes “Hellish Nightmare of Suffering and Devastation” After Playing Civilization II For 10 Years

Lycerius writes on reddit:

I’ve been playing the same game of Civ II for 10 years. Though long outdated, I grew fascinated with this particular game because by the time Civ III was released, I was already well into the distant future. I then thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be. Naturally I play other games and have a life, but I often return to this game when I’m not doing anything and carry on. The results are as follows.

The world is a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation. There are 3 remaining super nations in the year 3991 A.D, each competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands:

  • The ice caps have melted over 20 times (somehow) due primarily to the many nuclear wars.

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How Our Terror Of Death Forms Our Beliefs

stoppingVia New Humanist, Steve Cave on how an obsession with immortality shapes everything we do, believe, and create:

A group of American psychologists have discovered a simple way of turning ordinary people into fundamentalists and ideologues. It can be done anywhere and in a matter of minutes. It is just this: the researchers remind these ordinary folks that they will one day die.

The researchers behind this work were testing the hypothesis that most of what we do we do in order to protect us from the terror of death; what they call “Terror Management Theory”. Our sophisticated worldviews, they believe, exist primarily to convince us that we can defeat the Reaper.

Atheists and agnostics should not think that they are free from such comforting illusions of eternity. The psychologists, psychiatrists and anthropologists who developed Terror Management Theory have shown that almost all ideologies, from patriotism to communism to celebrity culture, function similarly in shielding us from death’s approach.

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