As I wrote in the first post of this series (A growing disconnect between Chinese and Westerners)
"Change is assaulting our certainties as never before. The fields it
affects are multiplying while its speed is accelerating and in
consequence our minds are being numbed into incomprehension".
few would ever think that these changes already imply that the
technological center of gravity of the world is leaving the US. So what
follows will come as a surprise to most. The reality is that China is
sprinting investing all over the place while the West is broke, its
societies atomized and on the verge of violent confrontations, and the
interconnections between its systems are clogged like the arteries of a
patient with advanced arteriosclerosis. Treating this condition is not a
given and many specialists (economists, anthropologists, sociologists,
psychologists, etc...) believe that the patient is on its death bed. It
should thus not come as a surprise that year after year, month after
month, the scientific news is informing us that Western technological
supremacy is sifting, one sector after the other, like sand falling
through the fingers.
matter if Chinese and Western perceptions about societal reality are
growing further apart? Whatever people may be thinking the fact is that
this disconnect is going to have a decisive impact on how humanity's
future will unfold and so I believe that those whose minds are still
open and curious about the fate of humanity better watch carefully.
What is going on? People's perceptions in China and in the West are so absolutely out of sync nowadays that I feel the urge to write about this disconnect. Generally speaking people in China are very optimistic about the future and they trust their political decision makers while in the West people are generally pessimistic and they totally distrust their political decision makers as well as the other elites of their societies which renders them weary about the future. Am I the only one to be shocked by the intensity of this growing disconnect?
This series is becoming so long by now that new readers might easily get
lost... So let me start with an introductory note about its context. My thinking adventure started in the sixties and seventies. As an aspiring painter I was bewildered by the confusion
reigning supreme in the art world and so I felt compelled to engage in a
process of thinking about the arts and the function of the arts in
society that later expanded to societal evolution and how the function
of the arts adapts to the realities of changing historical times.
This series tells what I learnt along the way. What I write about is the perspective of a thinking artist and my conclusions go something like this:
– the form of artistic productions must necessarily reflect the
Zeitgeist of their times and must also be aesthetically pleasing in
order to attract eyeballs – the only artistically worthwhile productions are the ones that succeed
to give a peek on the emergence of the future to the viewer. In that
sense the content of the artwork is paramount. It opens the minds
to the emergent future and encourages us to adapt our present ideas
and behaviors in consequence. Those works that succeed to catch the spirit of the
future are the ones that will be remembered in the future... the rest
will be forgotten. The articles in this series are a first draft about the transition from
Modernity to After-Modernity which is the historical leap of humanity
out of Late-Modernity or out of our present historical era... I'm
strongly convinced that what comes our way compares to what humanity
experienced during its past 3 major societal transitions: 1. from small bands to tribes sharing a worldview called animism 2. from tribes to empires and kingdoms that launched civilizations whose societies shared a worldview called religion or philosophy 3. from empires and kingdoms to nation-states that share a worldview called Modernity. The emerging transition from Modernity to After-Modernity promises to be
as earth shattering for humanity as were the 2 first of these
transitions and so it is my contention that the real artists today are those who are sensitive enough to capture the spirit, of what comes
after Modernity, that is starting to emerge in the present. Being the
active agents of the commodification of the arts, it goes without saying
that, the operators of the art market are totally blind to such
considerations... My hope is to touch those whose minds are still open to knowledge and beauty... The articles in this series will be formatted in book form and edited for publication. Book 1 written during the winter 2014-2015 is about history, Book 2 written during the winter 2015-2016 is about theory, and this Book 3 written during the winter 2016-2017 is about what the future has in store for humanity ...and so its title "Divination".
In “Book 2. Volume 1. About the formation of human knowledge. 1.1. The context. I defend the thesis that the nature of reality is largely inaccessible to humanity (1). I further wrote that “We
better recognize, early on, the fact that the whole universe is
immensely vast; so vast that its true nature is inaccessible to human
reason. … Inaccessibility implies the unknown and humans don't like
unknowns. They have no problems with unknown "unknowns" for the good
reason that unknown "unknowns" simply don't pop up in their
consciousness but they feel utterly ill at ease when faced with known
"unknowns" such as those nagging questions resulting from the
inaccessibility of the whole universe to the human mind. Such known
unknowns become obsessions that drive people in the throat of anxiety
from where they search to escape at all costs. This is how societal
groupings, along our entire history, have been seen coming in the
picture by proposing approximations of reality, and of what the unknown
is all about, to be shared by their citizens in order to sooth their
anxiety. When shared by all citizens such approximations crystallize in a
societal view of the world or a worldview that all consider as being
the truth of the matter and this rewards those societies with higher
levels of cohesion which, in turn, facilitate their reproduction from
generation to generation.”
Modernity is not a worldview in the real meaning of the term. It is a quasi-worldview. A worldview relates to a holistic narrative that all citizens can share as their own understanding about what reality is all about. In other words the ideas generated by Modernity, and the facts those ideas derive, are not weaving a holistic narrative about human existential reality. As a matter of fact nor Modernity, nor science which is its active method of inquiry, are offering a narrative about what reality is all about... In this sense we come to understand why Modernity can’t answer the existential questions that pop up in peoples’ minds and why peoples’ minds are thus filing with anxiety that isolates them in the disturbing feeling of not really belonging to their societies.
future is resulting from the arbitration between the multiple
determinant factors that are competing in the present. In other words
the competition, between the multiple determinant factors in the
present, is what shapes the context out of which the future emerges.
alternatives, that are shaping in the present as potential futures, are
not readily visible and so the substance of the future remains
invisible to the naked eye for the majority of citizens. But it is
nevertheless accessible to inquiring minds. To detect these alternatives
in their very early stage, I mean at the early stage of their formation
as potentialities in the present, one has to entrust the subconscious
by entering states of altered consciousness. It is indeed only after
they have already emerged as selected future alternatives that conscious
observation will possibly detect them. The fact of the matter is that
the substance of these alternatives is being formatted inside the
context that is shaping in the present which means that, while this
context has still not been substantiated yet, future alternatives are
already forming in the midst of the presently forming context. This
whole process remains largely hidden to conscious observation and its
visibility will only arise with its substantiation.
“Book 3” is about getting a feel of what the future has in store for
humanity and more broadly what the future has in store for life on
earth. The future is perceived as being unknown so it is imperative for
those who want to talk about it to clarify the methodology of their
approach. This is what I propose to do here after.
subconscious is accessible through altered states of consciousness and
humanity, along the path of its societal evolution, has developed a
certain number of techniques to reach such altered states in order to
gain a deeper understanding of the working of reality and the place
humans assume in it.
By confronting one’s conscious certainties with one’s subconscious visions one gets to reconcile them in a unifiedconsciousness that is boosted at ahigherlevel. Thissupplement ofconsciousnessis then integrated within the scope of one’s conscious certainties. Mastering such a process fixes it in the mind and the resulting automatism engages an unstoppable quest for ever higher levels of consciousness. This is the path of the man of knowledge1 that opens one’s vision towhat is emergingin the present as the substance of the future.
I have started writing, these last few weeks, the first draft of "Book 3: Divination" of my series "From Modernity to After-Modernity". My experience last winter with "Book 2: Theoretical Considerations"
was really exhausting. Furthermore the length of my posts and the
weekly publishing I had imposed on myself resulted in draft versions
that I felt were sometimes not sufficiently thought out. So I plan on a
slower rhythm this winter with shorter posts (3-4000 words instead of
My first post, in this 2016-2017 winter series about the future, will appear on December 9th.
Thinking about the future has been called divination since ancient
times that's why I borrow that old word as title of the writing of this
season 3 that later will become Book 3.
Life is one of the applications installed in the operating system of the universe and it emerges eventually in those of its sub-sets whose context contains all the ingredients for life to emerge.
Humanity is one of the youngest species to have evolved from such a process of emergence on earth. As all species humanity is subservient to the application of the principle of life. By that I mean that we can’t escape its rules; we are merely dancing to the tune of its music.