Today’s America, Just a Civilization Rerun


If man is really an intelligent animal it would stand to reason that he would learn from his own mistakes. If he is an extremely intelligent animal he would also learn from the mistakes of others and the mistakes demonstrated in the annals of history. So, how smart are we, really? The gringa’s thinkin’, um, maybe not so smart.

As NASA and other space agencies throughout the world use their technologies to create models of what to expect from climate change, they have continued to share their knowledge with the world. Some folks are listening, others are not. Some folks are taking action, others are not. Of those taking action, it just doesn’t seem like their efforts are enough on their own. And considering what the world’s top scientists are warning everyone about, the gringa’s only conclusion is that, as a whole, man’s just not the sharpest pencil in the box.

Climate change scientists are concerned that the world’s current usage level of raw materials and natural resources is unsustainable, period. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. We have just got to stop using up all of this stuff! Just stop it, I tell ya! If we don’t, eventually the industries that depend on these resources will simply collapse because there will not be enough materials to support their production. But what exactly are we talking about? We are talking about the basic raw materials that end up being a necessary component in just about everything we use in everyday life:

  • Trees (lumber, paper, building materials, shipping containers, etc.)
  • Petroleum
  • Fresh water
  • Raw ores and metals (not vital for jewelry but vital for technology)

And that’s just a few, not to mention basic food crops like grains that the entire world is dependent on and requires vast amounts of fresh water for cultivation.

So what happens when vital industries collapse? How can the effect upon society be known? Won’t some very clever entrepreneur simply come up with a suitable alternative to replace what collapsed, using a completely novel material? Well, that’s not what history teaches us.

Throughout history many great nations and empires have collapsed due to some significant event that led to the decline of the population and their economy. The pattern reflects that such collapses of empires is usually preceded by a culture that becomes obsessed with accumulating wealth at the price of oppressing the poorer working classes. Once this becomes the societal norm the culture has become a predator vs. prey culture.

It seems pretty obvious to the gringa that, at least in her own country, the United States, this is the current state of things. So, if my nation has evolved into the cultural stage that precedes a collapse of the state system, is there anything that can be done to prevent the collapse or are we too far gone?

Experts say that the condition is possibly reversible if the culture will do one very important thing:  Reduce consumption to a sustainable level and distribute resources more equitably. This solution sounds pretty simple for a highly complex problem and civilization.

How in the heck do these experts expect Americans to change their consumer culture? Their consumer culture is EXACTLY what defines them. Americans are not proud of a heritage of literature or fine art or musical progenies who produce operas. Americans are proud inventors and innovators and entrepreneurs who sell lots of goods and services in order to make lots of money so they can turn around and buy lots of goods and services to serve as the evidence that they were successful to begin with by their own selling of goods and services. The gringa believes the United States is doomed because the very actions they believe has made the country great is the very behavior that is going to bring it down. Gross consumerism.

So, if America is doomed to collapse, then what will happen? Well, when the Roman Empire bit the dust centuries followed where the population declined. Sick folks couldn’t afford medical treatment so death rates were higher. Young people had uncertain futures so there were fewer pregnancies. What pregnancies there were experienced higher infant mortality because diets were poorer and medical treatment less accessible. The Romans also became dumber because education takes a back seat as a priority when a person is trying to eke out an existence in a collapsed empire. In fact, the population of Rome became widely illiterate.

Amazing how such an advanced civilization spoiled itself to the point that it collapsed and regressed and de-volved. But it happened. And it happened to more empires than just Rome. For example, these are other nations that made it to the pinnacle of existence and then fell to their deaths:

  • Minoa
  • Mycenaea
  • Mesopotamia
  • Sumera
  • Akkadia
  • Babylon
  • Abbasid Empire
  • Umayyad Empire
  • Sassanid Empire
  • Egypt
  • Hittite civilization
  • Mauryan Empire
  • Gupta Empire
  • Zhou Empire
  • Han Empire
  • Tang Empire
  • Song Empire
  • Maya civilization

Let’s stop there and note that the Mayans had reached a point in their society where they were ruled by kings. Their science and astronomy was highly advanced. Metallurgists and craftsmen created magnificent art and jewelry. And then this highly ordered civilization with their kings and calendars and sophisticated political system and complex culture lost well over 90% of their population.

This cycle of rise to power, period of indulgence then collapse into dissolution is worldwide. It has occurred in virtually every major civilization on every continent in the world. No people has been immune. And each civilization was arrogant enough to believe that they would be the exception to the historical rule. Much like my own nation.

So, the gringa watches and waits, considering the checklist of the many events that can trigger the collapse of a civilization:

  • Natural disasters
  • Environmental changes/catastrophes
  • War, civil war or foreign invasion
  • Technology development
  • Weapons development
  • Changes in trade
  • Depletion of natural resources
  • Cultural revolution and unrest

Well, pretty much everything on the list has either happened or seems rather imminent. So now what happens in the predator vs. prey model of America? Well, as the predator becomes more and more enriched, they begin to outgrow the available prey population. The population of the prey will continue to decline. The predator will then have to turn elsewhere to have their needs met. That can be done by creating wars for profit in other countries, assisting in regime changes to place in power a leader who is friendly and will allow exploitation of their people and natural resources, and trade agreements with friendly nations that openly exploit their natural resources and population. Yes, that is America.

But the bad news is that when a predator population begins to rage out of control and threatens the natural order of things, it also begins to decline with disease from growing fat with overfeeding. It then declines even more as it becomes malnourished due to a decline in available prey caused by its gross overfeeding. And then, finally, the predator weakens to the point that it can no longer regain its strength and former glory and a greater and stronger predator swoops in and takes out the competition. And this little rabbit is watching and seeing everything that the wolves are doing.

 

Sources:  www.nasa.gov

www.space.com

 

Image credit:  www.newsgrist.typepad.com

 

 

 

 

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Published by

gringaofthebarrio

A barrio gringa with a dream of cosmic proportions: writing to satiate my insatiable curiosity, worldwide literacy beginning with our youth, and to be the first barrio gringa to explore outer space!

9 thoughts on “Today’s America, Just a Civilization Rerun”

  1. Great article. You missed out overpopulation which I think is a major driving force for most of the other stresses on the planet.
    The only difference between us and previous cultures is the degree of science and globalisation. We can solve a lot more if we have the will.
    My observations, as an outsider (British) is that America is pulling itself apart. There is this patriotic, xenophobic, racist, fundamentalist strand that manifests itself in the Tea Party that is based on fear, hatred, arrogance and some feeling of superiority. There is a crazy strand of gun-toting people crying ‘Freedom’ who still think they’re in the Wild West and that America is better than anywhere else.
    It’s backward thinking, primitive, superstitious and contrary to civilised cooperation, education and science.
    But then that’s just me as an outsider. I find it scary. There is an element who appear to me to be more fascist than the Nazis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are spot on in every assessment. I was at the local hardware store a few days ago and saw a fellow open carrying his pistol. I thought, “How dangerous can it be to step out and buy a box of nails? If you are that scared just stay home!”

      Like

  2. Excellent article. I’m a Canadian who lived in the US from 2000 to 2007. I was surprised to discover that while Canadians and Americans share many values there is a large segment of the American population who Canadians would characterize as nutbars. The difference between Canada and the US is that we have fewer nutbars and they don’t have as much influence over government as their American counterparts.
    I cling to the hope that reasonable people such as the Gringa and her friends will be able to turn the tide otherwise America will indeed find itself in a steep and painful decline.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You make your point perfectly, but the rot is not just in the US. Consumerism is indeed at the heart of the culture, and is killing the planet, but until very recently, the US was also about values such personal freedom, volunteering and donating if one had the means. Appreciation of art, opera and such are certainly not weaker than in Europe, and you point out rightly that the population of Rome became widely illiterate after the fall of the Roman Empire. Indeed, Italy today is still at the tail-end of literacy and book reading statistics of any “developed” country, only behind Greece 🙂 I realise the US is in a rut, but if you ask me, Europe is facing a much more drastic reckoning, because its consumer habits and climate-change denial are just as deeply rooted as in the US, and it is woefully unprepared culturally, ethically charitably and structurally to face the refugee “problem” that has already started to overrun the continent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It all makes me so mad, sad and frustrated. I think the vast majority of people want living conditions round the globe to improve. I believe the vast majority of people are willing to participate in doing their part to help improve conditions that have been contributing to climate change. However, we look to our leaders to guide us through a suitable alternative to the lifestyles we have grown accustomed to and it seems leadership around the world doesn’t have what it takes to do what it’s going to take. Because it is going to be a brave and clever soul, indeed, that can set a true example of a post-consumer lifestyle and living comfortably “off-the-grid” in a way that will appeal to the average person.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, there are enlightened people here and there, but they don’t reach levels of effective visibility or “power” and media/politics/the system drown out their voices. Yet our survival is at stake!

        Like

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