Rollin' Like Sisyphus

The Next Ten Years – Backpedaling the Course of History

Posted in The Next Ten Years by Huckleberry on April 7, 2014
No different, fundamentally, than Congress.

No different, fundamentally, than Congress.

Human history, whatever else it is, breaks down rather neatly into two segments — the ebb and the flow. This is the pattern of every civic order, from the cro-magnon hunter’s circle to the Parthenon to the Concordat of Worms to Capitol Hill. This breakdown will prevail long into the future as well, haunting George Jettson as surely as it haunted Fred Flinstone. To stand up is to assume that you’ll never be laid low again; to fall down is to fear you’ll never again stand on your own two feet. These are the extremes between which the pendulum of the human experience swings, and the key to understanding everything lies in realizing that the pendulum never stops, and it’s constantly pulled by forces it can never hope to influence let alone control.
That’s your one-sentence history lesson, and if you stop here, rest well with the knowledge that you now know the greater part of the story.
But that’s not the fun part, nor the rewarding part. History is more than the sum of its summaries, and it can only be useful if it helps us inform our decisions and intuit our destinations. Otherwise, even the best history is simply a bedtime story with context. The human story is one of civic orders (because they all can’t be civilizations proper, alas) either on the rise, or in retreat; the cycle theory of history is not new, though much more attention is paid to the epic civilizations that swept across the known worlds of their time. Underlying these stories is the notion that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. In a way, this may be close to true, however it’s clear beyond doubt that every civic order undergoes the exact same process, whether we’re talking about a group of Aborigines slumming it in the Outback, or the multiple rises and falls of the Roman Republic cum Empire. Each system possesses incredibly differing operating doctrine, structure and composition, yet the fundamentals underlying each system, the fundamentals that govern and compel each system’s machinations is essentially the same.
How do I know this?
Sort of.
Many people much smarter than myself, who have studied the history of civilizations at considerably greater length than I have been able to commit to, have tried to create extensive, exhaustive and elaborate mathematical theories that predict the course of our Empires, with varying degrees of success. While many have been able to successfully devise a set of maths that apply backward, applying those same models forward has been tricky at best, and laughable at worst. For all of the wave theories and pattern charts, math is not a predictive model for the course of human events; it’s a forensic methodology. For my purposes here, I will only employ three facets of elementary probability theory to illustrate how every civic order, large and small, is governed by the same cyclical nature, a realization that I will then use to show how the large systems follow right along behind the small systems in the panoply of our interwoven social structures. These include conditional probabilities, complementary events, and Boole’s inequality. These theories, in conjunction with human behavior, underscore a picture of history not so much as the machinations of exceptional individuals or the topographic charting of event chains, but as one governed by a tapestry of inter-related, sometimes complementary and sometimes contraposed probability sets.
In essence, while its true only Nixon could go to China, it’s simultaneously probable that Goldwater also could only go to China, given a frighteningly slight alteration in the chain of probabilistically determined events that favored the former over the latter.
Am I just blowin’ hot air here?
Yes, but toward a purpose, since I’m attempting to intuit the course of the next 10 years without the benefit of knowledge of the hundreds of specific events that will shape the course of the decade in question. This is why probability will come into play so heavily, and why I always say the affairs of your local water board or PTA are far more important than the events that transpire in the Halls of Power at the top of the heap. Consider it a sort of canary-in-the-coalmine approach to prognostication.
We are living in era of decline, one that is just beginning, one that many remain in denial about, including those with the reigns of influence in their hands. This era of decline is due, occurring relatively on schedule, and it is completely natural and necessary even though it will make life miserable and unbearable for a lot of good people.
It is not lost on me that this is basically the second set of assumptions given in a pre-amble fashion, and I have yet to make a single prediction of any kind.
So noted.
Buckle your seatbelts, though.
We’ll be taking off shortly for a little destination you may have heard of, a destination called THE FUTURE.


2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. El Borak said, on April 7, 2014 at 11:34


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: