Leonardo da Vinci First anatomical studies c1515
Sometimes we find ourselves merely pondering, not so much solving big problems. Is there playing out, in the world at large, or at least the world of men, something akin to the Kondratieff cycle in economics, a larger cycle, a force, a tide, an energy, that we mostly ignore, but which drives our ‘affairs’? Dr. D. thinks there may well be. But if so, what happens to free will?
Dr. D.: I seem to have taken a dark and grumpy turn lately. Probably the winter, but as I get older, I find the present state of the world more and more frustrating.
I fear with the present madness it’s just de rigor to 1) label people as something they’re not, even the OPPOSITE of what they are, 2) furiously fight that strawman and 3) not care. I have no explanation for it, but there are times and tides in the affairs of men (as Shakespeare would say) which flood you out and cost a fortune. …Or something like that.
And it’s certainly flooding in Europe right now, as darkness falls as the shutters of censorship and totalitarianism are bolted up everywhere, every bit as clear and methodical as was done in 1935, even with a call for a shiny new army. …To use on no one, of course, because we all know broke nations fund and create armies for no ill intent whatsoever. But these things happen regularly.
“If…any person had told me that there would have been such [chaos] as [now] exists, I would have thought them a bedlamite, a fit subject for a madhouse.”
– George Washington, 1786 (after a fiat money blowoff in the states)
My belief is that these things happen from forces outside ourselves and are sadly predictable, as “the lesson of history is that no one learns anything from history.” There may be the “Fourth Turning” of generations, but a 4th-of-4 turning is some 200 years, the next cycle, the next fractal up, and things crack quite a bit wider.
As this follows exactly the weather, earthquake, and volcanic cycles, it suggests far more its external origin, the way birds grow senselessly restless and flock in fall, or animals are agitated and predict earthquakes. In this case, my guess is the human nervous system is very sensitive to the fluctuations in the sun, or possibly further, the wing of the galaxy we fly through like sand ripples 240 years apart. What else could it be to affect men, weather, and volcanoes all at once?
But I suspect the additional energy flooding into all men gives them a very hard time, hyping them up, and those who don’t know how to shed and direct the energy appropriately — which is most of us — become manic and unthinking, and to some extent collectively go mad. As events on the ground direct them, so it can be channeled into grandeur, like the industrial revolution, or into a suicidal bloodbath like Jacobin France.
We appear to desire the latter right now, where the most astonishing, easily falsifiable accusations are made, and followed through just as thoughtlessly by the mob. They attack and hang one man one day, then the next his accuser comes under scrutiny and is hanged in turn, yet no one makes a call to sense and order, but rather to more ghosts, more bogymen, and more panic that chases them in turn like the devil of Sir Thomas More. …Thankfully merely murder-by-reputation so far, but it would be shocking indeed if that lasted long.
I also believe men know this, and far from stopping it, prefer to make fortunes by going with the tide and pushing it along, tirelessly undermining nations they can short, and then supporting the kings rising on the wheel of fortune and hitching to their star until in the next cycle they will be undermined in turn.
Unfortunately, it is Europe and America’s time down on the wheel, and they are doing everything they can — spending trillions, directing Facebook and the Guardian, buying ministers and judges, undermining every pillar of our society, economic, social, moral — in their quest to drive us down, and therefore buy us up cheap in “Disaster Capitalism.” And being in the lowering tide, we don’t need any additional help.
However, with such sturm und drang, there’s just shouting man to man everywhere, sheer bedlam, and otherwise good people get caught up in it, accusing you, accusing me, and exhausting and ruining themselves at a time we most need to pull together, make forgiveness, and apply what limited forces we have to the task of saving ourselves and our values.
So what do we do? Well if indeed we are each being over-energized and overloaded as it seems, we need to calm and ground ourselves in deeper principles that are unchanging — a thing far easier said than done.
However, if we can see that all of us are in the same dilemma, we are all ill-at-ease, and it’s not the other guy, it’s ourselves too that is short tempered, short-sighted, jumping to conclusions — in a word: short — then we can go through the day and this time better, and address it better, redress it better, and make more accurate, more practical and productive responses than if we didn’t know where our new trouble and new agitation is coming from.
Because history shows these things happen, and we’re in it now and it’s clearly happening to us. Perceiving all this years ago, I took myself to a humble place and planted trees, as the Stoics at the fall of Rome retreated to walled gardens and enjoyed what life they could, and although it’s a hard life and everyone’s answer is different, these things pass and all men have troubles and die even in the best of times.
So while I find it as frustrating as anyone, to be outrageously accused, to not be heard day after day, I try to keep perspective as well. It may not be a help to them, but it’s a help to me at least, so I can possibly answer the call to help someday, should any someday come.
But I don’t think so. Like Robespierre or Washington, I expect it to vent its madness on me and on us all with little restraint instead. My job is to weather it as I can and wait for better springs to come, which they will, but decades from now.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
– Julius Caesar Act 4 Scene 3