Is America still a nation?

This 4th of July Patrick Buchanan asked if America is still a nation (1).

This question touches a raw nerve and our minds ache.
What will we do without America?


America First? Hum... but China Is already starting to Dominate Global Technology!

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".

But 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.


Our present mood shapes our reading of the future.

 Does it 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.


A growing disconnect between Chinese and Westerners

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?


Introductory note about "From Modernity to After-Modernity"

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".


From Modernity to After-Modernity (34)

Book 3. Divination

1. the future emerges in a given context

1.1. The quasi-Worldview of Modernity

1.1.2. Power ideologies mold the minds

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.”


From Modernity to After-Modernity (33)

Book 3. Divination

1. the future emerges in a given context

1.1. The quasi-Worldview of Modernity

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. 


From Modernity to After-Modernity (32)

Book 3. Divination

1. the future emerges in a given context

Obviously the future does not fall from the sky.

The 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.