The Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the French, the British, the Spanish, the North American Native Indians, the Aboriginal Australias, the Tibetans, the Mayans.
What do they all have in common?
Their cultures once dominated large swathes of Earthly landmass, but, for better or worse, lost their status, and were eventually replaced by something new.
In the instances of the empires they grew too big, too swollen, too fat. So bloated and diseased by greed that they lost control and turned inwards on themselves. In other cases they simply passed their use by date, they became irrelevant and inapplicable to the times, as times moved on.
If we were to look to the Aboriginal or Native Indian declines as a guide; Their cultures were destroyed by invading forces who carried new technology and weaponry which the natives simply could not rival. They were quickly and effectively ‘subdued’ by the invading British forces, who possessed new technology in the form of guns, ships, centuries of military experience and a powerful motive. What is more, the British forces knew they were there to conquer. The natives did not know they were to be conquered. Surprise!
Looking at what is playing out today in the United States of America, a country of great wealth, might and intelligence, right now, it is hard not to make comparisons. America is seemingly imploding in on itself. The setting up of autonomous zones, disbanded police forces, a large propaganda machine pushing the system of government ever closer to the edge of Marxist madness, culture wars, race wars, Donald Trump vs Joe Biden, wide-spread censorship of content that challenges the main stream narrative, and the most overweight and sick population in the world…. it’s really hard not to make comparisons.
America’s military might, once the applauded knight in shining armour of freedom and democracy, is now frowned upon following ill-fated escapades in Vietnam, the Middle East and North Africa. The American people have lost all enthusiasm for being the ‘policeman of the world’, they’ve realised the war on terror is an endless battle with no possible victorious conclusion. They’ve also run out of cash, and so it seems they’re going to war on themselves instead. As the ‘liberal’ Left grows ever louder there are only two outcomes; either a) the Right rises up and takes the fight to the Left aka a weird and messy political civil war, or b) the Right meekly caves and the Left wins. Hello socialism. Hello poverty. Goodbye American empire. De-funding the Minneapolis police department looks like a small-scale test for the de-funding of the world’s police. Get the popcorn ready.
If America falls, then one has to wonder about Europe and South America. Britain has looked on rocky ground for some years now, especially since Brexit. Germany and France are tasked with propping up the likes of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. The once grizzly Vikings of Scandanavia will roll over and do as they’re told, and probably apologise whilst they’re at it. Brazil is tearing down the rainforest and Argentina is in a right old mess.
So on this basis, it’s easy to identify the parallels between the collapse of the Roman, Greek and Persian empires and what we are witnessing happening today in the collective empire of ‘The West’. We’ve become too successful, too hedonistic, too bloated, lazy, and cocky. We sold out to the Chinese and the chickens are coming home to roost.
But there’s more to this than just a simple collapse of the West. It’s not just a simple implosion. The parallels can also be made between what is now happening to us and what happened to the native peoples in America and Australia in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just as the natives had no answer for the gun, we, the people of the world have no answer for the digital army that is coming for us. Just as the native people had their lives, land and freedom taken from them, the same is now happening to us. This is an invasion, and the way of life that you once took for granted is now a thing of the past.
Many will read that and laugh, surely an overestimation, but the reality is that wealth has been shifting in two directions for sometime now, upwards to the technocratic elite and Eastwards towards China.
The Chinese have been buying up large swathes of African, Asian, Australian and New Zealand land for farming and mining, whilst simultaneously lending the ‘rich’ nations of the West funds to prop up their ailing economies. They’ve also spent the last twenty years sending their brightest students around the world to study at the top universities. Whilst Western nations cower in fear of catching a bad flu and expend their remaining energy on in-fighting, the Chinese have patiently been playing out the long game. A plan that was undoubtedly hatched decades ago and is now starting to bear a bumper crop of fruit. They have systematically destroyed the ‘outsider’ cultures of the Tibetans and Mongolians, and the people of Hong Kong are now suffering the same fate. They are expanding their empire into other parts of Asia, Australasia and Africa through land, business and property purchase, and they’ve silently declared digital warfare on the rest of us, we just don’t know it yet. We are the next iteration of people who will lose their freedom and way of life, just as the tribes of the Amazon have been steadily losing theirs. If you think the Chinese will be nice overloads, just ask the Tibetans what they think to that. They’re not exactly nice to their dogs either. I’m not expecting a big bowl of food, a long leash and a pat on the head.
Many Australians and Americans look upon the remaining natives in their lands with scorn and pity. Dare I say it, but no doubt some harbour something closer to disgust and contempt for the ‘primitive’ people who came before. Attempts to integrate them into the new look societies largely failed, many have remained on the outskirts of civilisation, confined to undesirable areas and limited reservations. With their way of life and meaning lost they have suffered terribly. Alcohol, violence and criminal behaviour now permeates through their societies. They lost it all. What makes us think we will be any different? Are we somehow smarter because we have a savings account and can google stuff on a device in our hands?
As petrified Western nations shut up shop in March, their economies faltered, small businesses soon began to struggle, some medium and large businesses followed, job losses continue to mount, government treasuries are hemorrhaging cash, people are losing their homes and their will to live. The outcome will be savage, people will be angry, people are already angry. But this is only the start. AI is only going to take more jobs. Machines can grow, harvest, refine and process crops, fight wars, sell groceries, drive taxis, write news articles, manipulate the stock market, manipulate presidential elections, target advertising, and teach yoga. Add the Chinese invasion to the mix and it’s clear to see that we are the latest in a long line of civilisations to fall. All that and no mention of Putin. He’s been awfully quiet. One wonders.
It would be easy to read all this and despair, but there is no sense in despairing. It is beyond control. If POTUS can’t control it, what chance is there that you can? What will be will be. It is what is. All we can do is to acknowledge it, and use it as a reason to live our lives in the present moment. To learn how to find the meaning and joy in everything we do, even when life seems intolerably tough, or infinitely scary. Our challenge is to remain Stoic, to rise above, to fight back fear with love, to heal our traumas and cherish every moment with the ones we love. To live the way of the Tao. To cut along the grain, to swim with the tide, to ski down the hill. Easy to say perhaps, but what does one do in order to put this into action. We meditate. Don’t know how to meditate? Link here
Our purpose on this earth is to awaken. As simple as that. And this is the easiest time to awaken in all of human history. You have food, you have shelter, you have time and thanks to the internet you have the information. There are thousands waking up all over the globe right now, setting off alarm clocks and shaking them in people’s faces. If you’re reading this you have a choice, you may continue to sleepwalk, or you open your eyes.
You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.
Regardless of what happens in the future, the only moment that truly exists is this one right now. Remain true to the present moment and regardless of what is happening out there, happiness is ours to enjoy, in here.