It’s more about learning that it is about Time, right?
I came across this Johan Galtung fellow while perusing something unrelated, and discovered that he is the latest in a long line of prognosticators who use past behaviour to predict future likelihoods. The short of it is that Galtung’s model puts the fall of the US Empire (not the Republic – at least the continental USA will survive, as did the UK) at about the year 2020 CE. There are plenty of alternate theories and criticisms. I first came across this idea in depth with Oswald Spengler’s the Decline of the West.
Summing it up (hard to do, it’s quite complex, and I read a simplification of that):
an empire…has a culture of legitimizing a structure of unequal exchange between center and periphery
* economically, between exploiters and exploited, as inequity;
* militarily, between killers and victims, as enforcement;
* politically, between dominators and dominated, as repression;
* culturally, between alienators and alienated, as conditioning.
Galtung goes on to give specific examples within each of the 4 spheres that point to contradictions (say economically between over-production of agriculture and citizens dying of hunger) that indicate signs of the sick empire.
Given that I’d just posted theAbysmal Synoptic, which is simply a means of looking at history in 260-year cycles instead of decades and centuries, or eras, epochs, reigns, dynasties or other traditional measures. The 260-year cycle is novel as far as I’m aware. Mesoamericans observed 260-tun cycles called the Short Count by some, however, that works out to approx. 256 years. Mesoamerican Calendars did follow 13-Year and 52-Year cycles, although I’m unsure if these observations extended to larger measures or not. Either way, the designation is meant to represent that recurring paradigm of conception, formation, birth, growth, peak, rigidity, death, dissolution that we apply to people, the phases of the Moon, the life of the universe (the Big Bounce – my favourite theory), and the life of empire. Empire is a product of human culture and society, which are in turn products of human activity, which is a product of human imagination. Ultimately, if we can use such a model for human life (and life in general), then why not apply it to things that are larger than us, that follow rules that appear to be similar?
In the end, we can use such models, however, if they don’t fit with the paradigm of empire, they will be destroyed, eliminated, rendered irrelevant (and so with calendars, languages, types of music, ways of thinking, species, landscapes). I think the USA will be much happier (after the historical adjustment period, which I hope for everyone’s sake is relatively short, but not explosive) as a Republic, as I’m sure everyone else will be as well.
Regardless, the patterns I first noticed in the 260-Year cycles had to do with empire and calendars, however, I think that what is most significant is the transfer of new knowledge. Like a burst of new ways of thinking, new philosophies, mathematics, tools. The printing press coming out just prior to Colombus landing in the Caribbean, for example. This is not to say that the knowledge itself is new to humanity, but that the knowledge transferred is new to the culture, such as when the Umayyad Arabs brought Greek Knowledge (as well a all kinds of other stuff) to the Iberian Peninsula in 712 CE which is 3 x 260 years before 1492.
1492 saw the Julian Calendar entered the Americas, and the Colombian Exchange changed the world. This would be the period of colonization, the spread of Western (aka European) empire and influence, exploring and mapping the world, the development of the scientific method and spreading of printed material.
260 years later
1752 Gregorian Calendar adopted by British Empire, scientific/industrial revolutions continue to increase power and scale, US Empire rises and falls, Internet
2012 theAbysmal Calendar, new era of who the hell knows, Internet and Space or Stick and Stones, but I’m sure it can be both. I honestly feel that this is the end of this particular social phase, and that we’ve moved in to this new one, 2012-2271 CE, or by theAbysmal Reckoning, Year 0 to Year 259. I don’t “honestly feel” this because I have intuited some objective truth about time and history, I “honestly feel” this because I’ve been thinking of history in these terms for some time, and so all the recent turmoil in the world feels like paradigms shifting against their will – or to put it in terms along the lines of what Johan Galtung proposes, they’ve extended the empire so far that they cannot maintain the homeland, and resulting tensions due to contrary interests will bring about the demoralization of elites (think of the Democratic Party post-election), and the eventually lack of faith in the Empire (or system or however it is defined).
That’s not to say this will happen. Who knows? Just that the situation in which we find ourselves is remarkably similar to the situations of other empires in other parts of the world at other times in history. So that’s what I’ve learned, and it informs how I interact with and in the world. It’s amazing how few conversations I can have about this that don’t end up being critiques of my world-view.