Wednesday, September 30, 2020

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: An Old Order Dissolving?



The earlier individual civilizations of this planet constantly went
through cycles of various kinds including a general "order" of the
forces at play in them.

We have for some recent time now had a planet-wide world order
as communications and transportation innovations eliminated
the earlier physical boundaries between hitherto distant and
separated civilizations.

Although one can describe the world in terms of various cycles,
including those of technology, climate, sociological relationships,
health, demography/migration, religious belief and so on, the
nation-states which arose from innumerable nomadic tribes, and
the notions of power and aggression, have, in recent centuries,
created the modern versions of a so-called world order.

There seems to be, in terms of this particular notion of a “grand”
world order, alternating cycles of integration and dissolution
which evolve over several decades each, and which serve as
clarifying markers for their times.

Those who are now fifty years old or older grew up in a period of
post-World War II integration of a new order resulting from the
aftermath of World Wars I and II, just as the previous world order
was a dissolution following the upheaval  of the Napoleonic wars
in Europe and the colonial “possessions” of European states
around the world.

There has been an a mega-political process going on now for
many years --- a dissolving of the attempt to create a lasting order
in Europe, the western hemisphere and Asia. The United States
has played a certain and growing role in the ordering of the world
for the past one hundred and fifty years or so. Now, the population
giants of China and India are asserting their place more
aggressively as this old order dissolves. Other nations, including
Brazil, Japan, Indonesia, and Russia, are asserting themselves
by virtue of their large populations and growing market share
of world trade. But this transformation is no longer limited to
nation states, just as the earliest transformations were not
limited to regional tribes. In the latest dissolution, we observe
transnational economic entities such as the European Union and
OPEC; international ideological entities such as Islamic jihadism
and international regions such as the trans-Pacific area,
attempting to take a more significant part in the creation of a
new planetary order.

International organizations such as the United Nations, the World
Court, and regional military alliances increasingly appear unable
to bring any true cooperation to an emerging new world order
(whatever it is to be).

In the period after 1945, and again in 1990, there was a provisional
belief in the West that first, fascism, and second, communism ---
both cruel and totalitarian phenomena --- had been temporary. and
“overcome.”  It now appears, as their malign offspring reappear
in the world, this was an over-optimistic conclusion.

The “level” of the world, as philosopher Ortega y Gasset once said,
does continue to rise because of technology and invention (human
beings live longer; more persons are fed; daily life is more varied),
but the dynamic state of the world (its “order,” if you will) has
seemed to become more uncertain and perilous.

It has taken some time, especially for the post-war generations
in the West, to understand this fully. For many of these
generations, in fact, they cling to a belief in the old order and its
“comprehensible” optimism, security, rationality and predictable

Daily global events, however, signal it's time for some new thinking.

Copyright (c) 2015 and 2020 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


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