Following a very interesting talk with Ronnie Thwaites on Friday, November 20, 2020 he asked me to consider going beyond my article of November 13, 2020 that pondered the potential for the fall of the American Empire as we know it during the course of their newly elected Administration. I have agreed to give it a try, but in so doing I must caution my readers that projecting future possibilities will sound a lot like a fantasy or science fiction; also that the dreams of future possibilities are what have made Marvel Comics and the Walt Disney themes into “dreams that do come true”.
My last article suggested that there are great similarities between the characteristics of the rise and fall of great empires due to economic factors (expenditure versus revenue = massive debts); governance control; invidious and scheming politics; failed integration; hierarchical divides; moral deterioration; and weak and failing local jurisdictions far away from the centre.
“Turning and turning, in the widening gyre; the falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction; while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
- William Butler Yeats: The second coming.
So, is there a possibility of life without empires? The first reaction would be no. The main reason is that the historical development of human societies where living together was a means of survival through the development of a gregarious environment has evolved over thousands of years. The isolation of single survival; cave dwellers; hunters and gatherers; agricultural communities; villages; towns; industrial complexes; cities; mass production and specialization; and shared knowledge; have all been evolutionary experiences.
This evolution has been a reason for the development of certain attributes. It has defined tribal relations that established traditions of community-based norms that bound individuals to the enclave.
This binding often superseded ethnicity and race, and in later stages imposed territorial borders that eventually moved to being city-states and later countries. This is illustrated by our World Atlas even though this is regularly altered by war, conquest, influence, or alliances and shows the societal changes over time.
So again, is there a life without empires? The answer is still no. Conquest; religion; race; language; through peaceful change, are unlikely in an age of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and due to the short-term vision being promulgated by so-called “world leaders” with faulty premises. The one-thousand-year Reich ambitions of Adolf Hitler never even made ten.
The ability to evolve to shared responsibilities is an alien concept, even in the minuscule CARICOM environment this has proven unlikely over 50 years and even within formal structures that had been designed to implement harmonious endeavours that would increase wealth and eradicate poverty. At this level and at the world level the word “Sovereignty” is an immediate call to arms for isolation rather than cooperation. It is a supporting word for those who would divide and rule, often for self-satisfaction.
So again, is there a life without empires? The answer could be yes. Given my observation that information and the speed related to this could shorten the life of that empire, leaving it vulnerable to rapid changes, then if we can envisage a new order of communication that evolves faster than the human mind, then possibilities exist.
Today we stand in awe of the concepts related to 5G which seem to be improving capabilities at an exponential rate but still one that the human mind can understand and manipulate. We will use it to order our lives, homes, appliances, and communication speeds in the promise of a less strenuous existence. Turn on the lights; pre-heat the oven; start the automatic vacuum, raise the indoor temperature to 70 degrees at 5:00 pm, are now reality. The fact is that the Jetsons contemplated these things 40+ years ago.
The radio/telephone watch was the sole province of Dick Tracy 60 years ago. What was fiction is now reality. The facilitator has been the rapid miniaturization of component processors through the silicon chip. Regrettably the chip technology improvement era is rapidly approaching its end and something will have to replace it as our need for speed and processing power knows no bounds, and technology marches on.
What will a quadratic computer’s output be when compared to a binary computer? I don’t know, but considering that man went to the moon and back, guided by a computer with less power than your cheapest smartphone, then the escalation will be beyond our current imagination.
What will 8G look like and be made of, and will it design itself and control its own functions through this methodology for its own Artificial Intelligence creativity? Will mankind become some second class biological animal like the Terminator portrays?
But what will happen if humans or computers grasp the Noetic principles reputed to have originated in ancient civilizations/empires dating back to the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, The Middle Ages, the Renaissance, that contemplated the expanded power of the human mind consciousness as opposed to the sensory.
Many believe that the human mind is underutilized and great potential lies yet unexplored, and if true then when combined with advanced AI would be truly tending towards infinity. This must be of tremendous concern to many religious bodies that have chosen to create their own enclaves through the sensory even while knowing of the alternate consciousness. I know the concept sounds like a Dan Brown novel, but there is already some scientific interest in exploring this Noetic science further.
Like most unknowns, all seem like fantasy until proven by scientific methodology. The world is flat; the sun revolves around the Earth; there is no other life in the universe despite billions of planets like our own; there is no such thing as gravity; and so there are many other ideas that we had accepted as baseless and even heretic.
Within some context then, scientific investigation will lead to a new spurt of knowledge and analysis. At the current time this article will appear to be the conjecture of a science fiction writer. However, after 50 years the existence of the Boson (God) Particle could not be proven until the huge accelerator was built in Europe; and Einstein’s theory was finally accepted as fact after 100 years.
So, will empires continue to fail and be replaced by others for the foreseeable future, or will total anarchy be released before this happens? Even the mind-washed have a Biblical concept of Armageddon, and it may be an alternative to having no empires at all.
So yes, if faced with a seemingly insurmountable threat, there is a small chance that empires could be subjugated and a new form of governance or practical and logical thinking could replace them. As that would seem to be little more than a transfer of power to another base, then I doubt that this would be easily embraced by warring factions, and Jamaica is no different.
Time and circumstances will tell, and your Granny advised that “the longest liver will see”.