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This Is What Worries Me

In this disintegrative phase, people are increasingly indignant if their magical-thinking “solution” is challenged.

It’s practically un-American to confess you’re worried. Can-do self-help and cheerfulness are expected, promoted and rewarded. So to say I’m profoundly worried about the state of the nation is to swim against the optimistic zeitgeist.

Nonetheless, I’m worried, because I sense the long-wave/cycle disintegrative phase is gathering momentum. Though the timing and outcome are unknown, these phases end badly when people lose their ability to learn new ideas, experiment, cooperate and adapt.

As I’ve noted in previous posts, economic decline manifests as social and political decay. People are angry, easily inflamed, seeking scapegoats, hardening their own views, all of which manifest economic decline and insecurity.

People are increasingly demanding that everyone agree with them, rather than seek solutions and common ground. People aren’t really seeking solutions or common ground, they seek confirmation that you concur 100% with their views, and if you don’t, they are indignant: how dare you disagree with me! Will You Be Richer or ... Smith, Charles Hugh Buy New $6.95 (as of 10:20 UTC - Details)

This is not a healthy development. People are increasingly prone to repeat their positions dogmatically, and your refusal to agree 100% increases their dogmatism and their agitation.

After three or four such outbursts–we cannot call them exchanges, because nothing is being exchanged–there’s nothing to say.

It’s extremely dangerous when people stop being interested in solutions and finding common ground, and are only interested in confirming that everyone agrees with them. This is psychologically akin to seeking scapegoats to blame for all our troubles or projecting our Monster Id onto some “other.”

As the social fabric unravels, extremes quickly become normalized: another giant homeless encampment springs up and our ability to consider this extraordinarily troubling dissipates in a haze of normalization.

When everything is unraveling, our herd instinct kicks in, and we become increasingly skittish and uneasy. One manifestation of this group anxiety is conflicts suddenly break out over nothing: riots at ball games, demonstrations that become free-for-alls, family gatherings that suddenly dissolve in extreme acrimony over some trivial event.

I’m witnessing these behaviors in comments and correspondence. The Oftwominds audience has always been genteel. People disagree or correct me with civility, and I respond in kind. One of the motives behind the title “of two minds” is that there are generally several perspectives and I can change my mind as new information or experiences are presented.

But this is not what I’m seeing: I’m seeing once reasonable people harden their views into a seething dogmatism, and expressing indignation or anger if I don’t agree with them 100%.

I’m afraid these readers never bothered to understand my work, which is admittedly outside the mainstream; they found something they didn’t like and keyed off of that.

The turmoil over “facts” and “fake news” is another manifestation. As financial commentator Ben Hunt recently put it, the “tells” are all being manipulated to support a dominant narrative. So the unemployment rate, consumer inflation and the stock market are all manipulated to support the illusion that all is going swimmingly.

As the distance between these fantasy “facts” and experiential reality widen, trust in these “tells” (i.e. trustworthy indicators) declines.

As trust in these “facts” and the “experts” who gin them up declines, the corporate media and authorities double-down in support of their fictitious “facts”: any doubters are “conspiracy theorists,” purveyors of “fake news,” or dastardly Russian stooges repeating “Kremlin talking points.”

There is no middle ground left in such a state, and indeed, no desire for middle ground, as the mere existence of middle ground would mean whomever demands 100% agreement with their position is not going to get it.

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