It’s been a rough year, hasn’t it? For me, I guess it really put content into that notion of “The Great Unraveling,” a phrase that has emerged over the past couple of decades from numerous thinkers, writers, journalists, environmental biologists, and climate scientists to describe what is unquestionably the great underlying crisis of our time.
The world we have known for generations is unraveling – quickly. Whether it’s the living ecosystems of the planet, the political system and governing bodies of the United States, the post-Cold War global economic order, cultural and tribal belief systems that go back many centuries - nothing feels stable anymore.
And that’s because - nothing is stable anymore. And that marks a different scale of change than what one fraught election has wrought in this land. Something bigger is going on, something that I have found best described in the literature on the nature and inevitability of civilizational collapse [for example: The Fate of Empires and the Search for Survival, by Sir John Glubb. Excellent paper and a free pdf download]. We shouldn’t be shocked by that. Historical and anthropological research has shown that this has happened many times in human history, and that no civilization is exempt.
We just have the added complexity of this one occurring in the context of planetwide ecological collapse as well.
If all that sounds terrifying, that’s because it is.