“More people worship the rising than the setting sun” — Roman General Pompey Magnus
Letting go of the old paradigm of Western Civilization is just the first stage.
It’s time to talk about grassroots civilization building.
Grassroots civilization building is the concept of focusing on the next stage of human development, through the lens of the micro-behaviors individuals and families carry out each day. Instead of some kind of grand theory (those normally fail eg: communism, fascism), it’s about building the future brick by brick.
This is a fantastic opportunity. The specific set of technological and cultural circumstances in play right now are very rare historically. They are producing the state of extreme flux we are calling “The Byzantine Transition,” the shift from one age to another.
If we don’t take the time to think carefully and deliberately about these changes, we will simply fall into the sub-optimal path of least resistance.
Culture is Downstream from Technology
Andrew Breitbart said politics is downstream from culture. We say culture is downstream from technology because it shapes the options you have for acting in the world.
What tech coming down the pipeline is “moving fast and breaking things” as per the Silicon Valley maxim?
- Smartphones with video recording enabled both the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality.
- The Internet has destroyed the gatekeeping power of both universities and legacy media institutions by democratizing knowledge, bringing it to the masses for free at the point of access.
- Social Media has revolutionized networking, in particular turning the dating market upside down by connecting people with potentially hundreds of prospective dates at once.
- Blockchain is disrupting the state monopoly on money and may be reintroducing sound money for the first time since the great powers went off the gold standard in the early 20th century. (See The Bitcoin Standard)
- 3D Printing is disrupting the manufacturing industry by enabling individuals to print highly specific items they may want in their own homes rather than relying on large factories to produce any given product at scale.
- Laptops and other computing advances have rendered modern offices optional and empowered workers to control where they work.
- Automation is transforming many industries, making many jobs obsolete.
- Space Travel may make humans an interstellar species within our lifetimes.
That’s just for now. Many more innovations are around the corner, including self-driving cars, personal transport drones, facial recognition scanning technology and cybernetic enhancements.
As the technology comes out, culture is forced to respond. Advances taking place now are having as big of an impact as the printing press, railroads, and the internal combustion engine had in their day.
Except this time it’s happening within a few short years instead of stretched out over a generation.
These developments have positives and negatives. Smartphones have empowered citizen journalism, but also given rise to an unforgiving outrage culture which incites virtual mobs to punish citizens for actions taken in out-of-context video clips. The internet has democratised knowledge, along with falsehood, enabling any idiot with a laptop to simply open up a website and start asserting things. Automation has made production more efficient, but at the cost of many jobs.
Perhaps as importantly, the developments compound each other, each leveraging a person’s ability to use the other technology even more effectively.
Hand-wringing or panicking over any of these developments is unhelpful, insecure and a waste of time. The only relevant questions is how can I use this technology to make my life better?
Questions: What technology do you have right now? Are you using it to benefit your life? What patterns of behavior are you establishing with your tech use? Do those patterns fit your core values?
Culture Flows From the Micro to the Macro
It’s easy to see the system is a colossal juggernaut which steamrollers everything in its path. But that’s only partially true. The system is made up of millions of people making millions of individual choices every day. Each of those decisions has a ripple effect, influencing the decisions of others. Patterns of behavior which benefit users and are able to self replicate spread, and ones which are too difficult or unhelpful.
Examples of this are more women entering the workforce having a knock-on effect on organization of the family, people deciding to abandon formality leading to an increase in casual style and a more flexible culture.
Whether as an individual, or as a family unit, you can shape your immediate environment to be an expression of the culture you want in the world. If that culture is desirable to others, it will spread. This is how Christianity has declined so dramatically across Europe, despite the massive wealth and power of established church organizations.
People simply stopped believing in it and going.
The only way the culture changes is from individuals and families changing it themselves.
Questions: Do you know what broader system you’re a part of? Are you happy with the way your daily life is structured? Are you following cultural norms that you don’t want to be following?
“Think Global Act Local” has long been a slogan of the environmental movement. Grassroots Civilization Building is about seeing yourself as a node in a broader change. This is Lunacy Now’s approach to navigating what we called The Byzantine Transition. When you think in this manner about what you want to achieve and how you want to get there, you are much more able to triumph.
By being the change you want to see in the world you can stop waving placards and instead become an act of living revolution.