- The Big Picture - http://www.ritholtz.com/blog -
America’s Inevitable, Yet Preventable, Decline
Posted By Kent Thune On May 9, 2013 @ 12:30 pm In Philosophy,Think Tank | Comments Disabled
“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Much has been said on the topic of America’s rise and its inevitable, although preventable, decline. But most of what has been said or written uses empirical evidence, specifically historical observations, of the rise and fall of empires, most notably the Roman Empire.
Here on TBP, the Washington Blog recently published a post, called All Empires Crash Soon After They Reach Their Peak . The post notes several common symptoms of empires on the verge of collapse:
These are interesting and important observations that can use a few more thoughts. For disclosure, I’m not a scientist, nor am I a historian or empiricist; I’m a philosopher. Therefore I don’t care to make prognostications based upon observations of history, where I am most likely to arrive at only correlations. I like to search for causation by non-scientific means. I’ve provided my own thoughts in The Decline of America Part I: What Consumes the Consumers? 
Philosophy does not begin with Knowing (at least not from the Rationalist view, ala Plato, and most of Eastern Philosophy, such as Taoism and Buddhism); it begins with Being; before you discover, you must uncover. It is only then that you may recover. But much of Western Philosophy is obsessed with Knowing and thus Being is covered.
With regard to the decline of America, one can easily find correlations to past empires that rose and fell spectacularly. But what is the causation? To begin with Being, consider the meta-physics, not the physics:
The primary theme here is not deterministic nor is it anti-American; we do have the capacity to save ourselves but we won’t. In the so-called free society, individuals have the ability to succeed wonderfully but there is also equal potential to fail miserably. At our fingertips we have the capacity to learn all the teachings of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Buddha, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Jung, Freud and Maslow. But there is no demand for depth; all is superficial; there is no Being; there is only Knowing. There is greater demand for escaping into the self-created reality with Facebook and the ironically named “reality television.”
“Order is not the order that is imposed by society, by a culture, by environment, by compulsion or obedience. Order is not a blueprint; it comes into being when you understand disorder, not only outside you but in yourself. Through the negation of disorder is order. Therefore we must look at the disorder of our life, the contradictions in ourselves, the opposing desires, saying one thing and doing, thinking another.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
In philosophical terms, individualism consumes itself. The health of the social organism is a total measure of the lower parts of the organism, which will continue to erode as awareness and attention disappear. There is no incentive to change course. The means to escape is in high demand and thus the incentive create more means to escape persists. As Jiddu Krishnamurti taught, attention is everything. Without attention, we are not ourselves; it is where all of our energy comes from.
The Roman Empire did not decline this way. However, like all declines of nations, societies and civilizations, are preventable.
Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog
URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/05/americas-inevitable-yet-preventable-decline/
URLs in this post:
 All Empires Crash Soon After They Reach Their Peak: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/05/all-empires-crash-soon-after-they-reach-their-peak/
 The Decline of America Part I: What Consumes the Consumers?: http://www.thefinancialphilosopher.com/2013/03/the-decline-of-america-part-i-what-consumes-the-consumers.html
 The Financial Philosopher: http://www.thefinancialphilosopher.com/
 @ThinkersQuill: https://twitter.com/ThinkersQuill
Copyright © 2008 The Big Picture. All rights reserved.