I am a student of a very old, martial art of Japanese origin. A fundamental tenet of my martial study is a concept expressed as ‘Banpen Fugyô’. Roughly (and un-poetically) translated: Constant change, No amazement’. The Japanese version of ‘the only constant is change’, sort of idea.
Approaching the world in this way could be perceived as being boring or stuck in the mud because you are actively working to mitigate wonderment. However, this way of seeing the world does not force you to ignore the wondrous… it simply seeks to acknowledge that change is life/life is change and to not be derailed by it when it occurs. A kind of ‘go with the flow’ approach to life.
I believe we are witnessing one of those once in a lifetime periods where the entire world is changing before our eyes. A pivotal moment in time that will destroy old paradigms and establish a new foundation to build upon.
To be honest, we as a culture have been treated to so much change, so rapidly with the advent of the digital age that we are almost immune to recognizing change any longer because it seems to flow as a continuum. For instance, the current generation iPhone (which was marketed as a technological wonder) will be rendered obsolete by the next generation iPhone in probably 6 months… and it will also be presented as revolutionary. The only thing keeping the technological change from coming quicker, it seems, is the necessary time to market the next big thing.
But, this post isn’t specifically about iPhones, or Androids, or social media, or any of the other techie things that have become commonplace. This post is about a revolution in human existence and how we see ourselves in the world.
This point can be illustrated by any number of examples. Let’s start with the technology of communication: Human beings began communicating via spoken language by face to face conversation. This evolved into various written communications in the form of cave drawings, etched tablets, markings on papyrus, and finally the Gutenberg Press made mass publishing truly possible and distribute-able. Then, with the advent of harnessing electricity, communication began to be possible via telegraph and then by telephone. Radio and then Television revolutionized true mass communication and how we stayed abreast of current events, real time, and entertained ourselves. Cable television created competition. Resulting in more choices and a 24/7 news cycle. No more waiting for the 5:30 national news to understand what was happening in the world. Cellular phone technology came to fruition allowing us to communicate on the telephone virtually anywhere, any time. Then came the internet and e-mail. Suddenly, there was no waiting for the written word… e-mail was delivered to any point on the globe instantly. Then… Smartphones. Everyone now carries a device that delivers telephone, text, personal computing, photography (still and video) and internet capabilities. Various social media platforms were created and have nearly made e-mail irrelevant as a person to person communication and enable everyone with an account to broadcast their every thought and to share things of interest to everyone else on that platform instantly. E-books enabled true self-publishing to become a thing… brick and mortar bookstores, libraries, and old line publishing houses are now irrelevant for the most part. With the new internet based platforms of streaming entertainment, instant video and text publishing, Television, newspapers, magazines, and physical books are fast going the way of the dinosaur. It truly is a brave new world but… the changes are now coming so quickly that we have become nearly numb to exactly how revolutionary each of these are and how far we have come as a race in terms of communication. On the other hand, our larger social systems have moved more slowly than our technology. However, that is changing as well. At a breakneck pace.
The last, real revolution in governance was the American Revolution which resulted in the formation of the United States of America. A true melding of Greek democratic and Roman republican principles and recognizing Natural Law, designed to decentralize government while protecting the rights of the minority… down to the smallest minority, the individual.
Following a long slow march of conglomerate thinking and now globalization of our sovereignty and economics, the world of society and government is changing. Digital currencies are on the cusp of replacing monies controlled by governments.
The government of Spain has been all but non-existent for a year because the electorate could not decide between their two, bad legislative choices. Guess what…? Despite lots of doomsday commentary… nothing bad has happened to Spain.
Summer 2016 saw the ‘Brexit’ where the citizens of the UK chose to separate from the unelected econo-bureaucrats of the European Union. Guess what…? Despite lots of doomsday commentary, economic and otherwise… nothing bad has happened to the UK. In fact, the British Pound has not been stronger in a decade and a half.
In November, 2016 the United States elected President Donald Trump who ran on a platform of reform, economic prosperity and a reclamation of US sovereignty. Amidst lots of negative press and dire predictions, guess what…? So far what we’ve seen, two weeks in, is a President-Elect approaching his new Administration as a business turnaround, the stock markets are at all time highs, and the US Dollar is at 15 year highs. Additionally, the new President appears to be using all available technology to take his message directly to the public instead of allowing the press to filter his message.
Now, I believe we are on the verge of seeing France going the way of the UK and the US in terms of restoring their national sovereignty and withdrawing from the EU. If Marine Le Pen wins their election next summer, I suspect they will also withdraw from the EU and will be followed out by the Iberian peninsula. The Germans are also due for a national election… and Angela Merkel is beleaguered by a series of unpopular and detrimental immigration decisions. I’m predicting that she will also fall to a more conservative, national sovereignty focused opponent… followed by a German rejection of the EU model… and once the Germans go, the Scandinavians will likely follow.
What is the point of the very lengthy diatribe above? Simply this. Change is present, constant, and inevitable. Human beings long for independence and freedom to exercise our liberty. That is what our history of technological advancement has been about. It is now manifesting in our choices about governance. The days of large blocks of governance and economic rule are going away. We are voting them away because, we have developed the tools to render them obsolete. We no longer have a need for them and they are hindering our ability to realize our individual liberties and responsibilities. They must go… and they will.
Gone are the days of prohibitive national borders for the purposes of association. Going soon will be the days of the Nation State. We are all soon to be islands, connected by technology to other like-thinking islands, forming our own, self-defined, extra-national, beneficial relationships and alignments. I don’t know exactly how that will look in the end… but, that’s where we’re going.
There are those who will resist this change. That futile resistance is reflected in the riots and unrest surrounding the US election. I understand. Change causes friction, friction causes discomfort, and no one enjoys being uncomfortable. But, understand that change is coming whether you want it or you don’t. It’s a giant wave, and it has quantum amounts of momentum. Surf’s up. Nothing to do but to ride the wave in front of us or to be crushed under it’s force.