It feels like chaos. None of the old paradigms seem relevant anymore. What can we hold onto? Is everything simply slipping away, leaving us in despair? That is the theme of a William Butler Yeats poem called, The Second Coming, which contain such lines as "things fall apart: the center cannot hold" and speaks of the beast"slouching toward Bethlehem to be born."
This seems to be a pretty good description of the current state of affairs in the world. People seem to have lost faith in the old ideologies and even religious ideologies don't seem to provide real solutions. Out of the chaos the old Dark Gods of war and violence begin to emerge, and autocrats and demagogues seem to flourish. Meanwhile we are facing two very real existential threats to the survival of human life on this planet, the pandemic and global warming. Neither of which are human enemies that we can fight with our armies and conventional weapons or intimidate with our economic strength. Both will only be curtailed by cooperative human effort. And that can only be accomplished by realizing that this struggle is not us vs. them, any longer, but is now us vs. extinction.
The real question is what will emerge from the chaos? Within chaos are new worlds waiting to be born. Chaos is full of possibilities, some human and some not. Something transformational is in process and it is waiting to see where we are going to put our energy and support. Fear and paranoia only feed the continuing chaos, stoking its energy. Apathy becomes a form of tacit consent and resistance only gives energy to that continuing chaos
There are many who put their energy and faith into a return to an authoritarian structure, be it monarchs, or an aristocratic elite of economic power, or some version of strong men or dictators. All of these options rely on rule from the top down, disempowering the ordinary people.
The other, and perhaps the only viable option is to rely on a real democracy to provide human solutions. No, I am not talking about what has passed for democracy in the last century or so, which is a liberal economic elite who said they would take care of everyone if we gave them our unquestioned support. The other was a more modern version of the same thing which is best shown in the existence of neoliberal economics which implied that democracy was really just a tool to spread the domination of business and finance as the only way a modern democracy can survive. I think we have seen through both of those schemes as simply a way to continue the domination of an economic elite.
But instead, I am talking about real democracy, real self-rule and cooperation in which all the citizens have a voice in governance, through a representative system that finally serves the ordinary citizens and is focused on resolving real human issues.
That is the final transformation we must support and energize to allow us to emerge from this chaos into a sustainable human future.