Many worry about the impending collapse of Western civilization. Concerns like this are by no means new, dating back at least to the publication of Oswald Spengler’s magnum opus The Decline of the West in 1918, if not earlier to Nietzsche or even (depending on who you ask) to the French Revolution.
There are many conservative sites out there pushing for a revitalization of Western civilization to something akin to what it used to be before the upheavals of the 20th century. These movements range from the purely aesthetic, to neo-traditional, romantic and religious revival movements, as well as harder, scarier movements like neo-nazis and other fascists.
We reject this “revival” as impractical at best.
As set out in our piece “What is the Byzantine Transition” we date the final death knell of “Christendom” in the adoption of gay marriage by the US Supreme Court, which removed Judeo-Christian morality from its former position as the metaphysical basis underpinning the laws of the state.
Decline is not something that is necessarily bad. All societies, all ways of being, end, eventually. And when they end, something new comes into being in its place. When we talk about the West we’re talking about a set of values centered around Christianity and the Greco-Roman tradition and developed over the past 2,000 years primarily in Europe, before being exported (at gunpoint) to the rest of the world. It’s those values that are being rendered obsolete. That doesn’t mean that the roads are going to collapse, that cities necessarily will be set ablaze, or any of these other apocalyptic visions will come to pass.
Dwelling on a narrative of decline, however, is bad, since it keeps you looking back at the past and obsessing over things that will never return.
Instead we want to focus on what happens now. Because when one thing dies, something else rises in its place. Which means that the phase of the collapse of Western civilization is also the genesis phase of it’s replacement.
Where we go from here is by no means inevitable or set in stone. It’s going to be the result of millions of people making conscious choices that will shape this new world. Are we going to create new institutions to supersede the old ones? Will new social codes, new lifestyles and new career trajectories come into being to replace those which are being torn down as we speak? What will those new ways of being look like? What do we want them to look like?
What from the Western heritage do we want to keep to bring with us on this new journey? What do we want to throw away? And most importantly, what do we want to do next?
This framing totally changes the mindset and the possibility for leading a productive and happy life. Seen from the perspective of decline, the current uncertain geo-political/socio-economic situation looks scary, bleak and inhospitable. It induces risk averse behaviour and can encourage people to shut down, retreat and make choices which limit and secure what they have. Seen from the perspective of creating, the current situation looks exciting, inviting and abounding in possibility.
Making that mental shift can have serious positive impact on your life.
One of the ways in which Lunacy Now is encouraging this mental shift is in co-hosting Toke for Tolerance, the world’s premier cannabis based interfaith festival, which uses cannabis as a tool to break down barriers and facilitate peer-to-peer peacebuilding. Sign up now to get on the priority list for tickets.