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The measurement that we use to determine the success of a society is how much it has advanced the human condition and reduced suffering.
In early 21st century politics the demand for change is a common theme. You heard it from both sides. The calls for the passage of laws to address pay inequalities, reduce or raise taxes, fair or free trade, moderating speech and expression, stand or kneel for the national anthem, these are just a few of the hot button items of that day. These heated debates are important, but in the moment they tended to lose perspective of what they , meaning Western Society, have accomplished in.
Our brain is tuned to focus on danger, as a consequence, we tend to be pessimistic. Our short-term memory stores perceived threats making them much more readily available. There is a common saying, “Things used to be so much better back then”… or something similar to that phrase. Would it come as a surprise to learn that people were saying the same thing back then? This is due to a phenomena where, as problems (chaos) get resolved (order) the brain moves the memory from the short-term memory to the long-term memory, and also changing it from a bad memory to a good memory. Thus, our brains are telling us that things used to be better in comparison to the chaos that we’re dealing with now.
The important thing to keep in mind is that “its not whether something has or hasn’t happened, but rather whether something is or isn’t happening.” Transformation at a societal scale happens over long periods of time, generations in fact. It’s the trends that we should be focusing on, whether something is getting better or worse. Would it ever be appropriate to make the claim, “Ok, we have arrived. We don’t need any more change.” That would be a ridiculous claim to make about your personal life or society. The human experience is a constant journey of improvement. There isn’t a destination; there isn’t a utopia; there is only the journey. When the pursuit of utopia becomes the objective, tragedy is the result.
When there is forced transformation, most often the result will be chaos and civil unrest. This is a well known phenomena and has been employed throughout history as a tactic to overthrow or conquer a society. Here’s how it works. Subversive elements force outrageous demands on a society, knowing that the majority would reject them. The subversive elements would then encourage an insurgency (useful idiots) to inflame the majority even more, until the majority demands action against the insurgence. At that time the Subversive elements emerge from behind the scene to promote themselves as the solution. Once in power, the subversive elements eliminate the insurgency to ensure that it doesn’t turn against them as a result of the enactment of the solution.