Sam Harris, please help

We don’t know enough about past civilisations to pin point at exactly which stage they started slipping into decline. Sure, opinion has it the Romans gradually poisoned themselves with lead pipes, the Aztecs had a little help and Angkor Watt’s downfall remains largely mysterious but the fact remains, no definitive single cause has been identified.

Why is this time stamp or blueprint for self destruction so important? Well, it would serve as a warning sign for our civilisation. Of all the previous civilisations, the ones at least we are aware of, ours is without doubt the most impressive and it’s in that very achievement that the boogey man lurks.

One of the problems faced with any structure is the higher you build it, the more fragile it becomes, the more spectacular the subsequent collapse, and it’s fair to say, we have built a skyscraper Trump would be envious of.

Let’s follow that analogy a little further. Routine building maintenance obviously extends the lifespan of the structure. It’s base is exposed to different weathering and degradation patterns than experienced by the top floors and visible damage can be identified and repaired. It’s the hidden damage that will eventually topple the structure. Hairline cracks hidden between layers of concrete. When they surface the damage has spread beyond the repair skills of the maintenance crew.

So to the main questions Sam, and I seriously hope this catches your eye.

Who is maintaining our building, were the construction contractors on the take, perhaps using sub standard materials and how long before the implosion occurs? It’s not an ‘if’ question, but a ‘when’ question. It is as inevitable as our desire to build the structure in the first place.

I’ve recently been engaged in online research for a new project and spending a lot of time on social media feeds and UK and US news channels. I’ve come away from the experience with a very strong feeling of impending chaos and doom. I think we have already passed the point that marks the beginning of the end. There were no road signs warning us to slow down and we were so busy patting ourselves on the back that we took our eyes off the road. I won’t recount the unending streams of radical rhetoric online We all know it’s there.

The shocking thing is how widespread that rhetoric has become amongst almost every demographic. People from every ethnicity and culture. touting extreme radical personal or political opinions and misplaced religious views, abetted in no small part by an all too complicit press and social media machine.

Our building is crumbling for the simple fact that we appear to have forgotten a maintenance crew. In many ways the end may be a blessing for many. If population density is the tipping point, then perhaps the billions of unhappy souls were superfluous. Lives created in error with no real place or purpose other than to bemoan their existence from their low rent apartments on the lower levels of the building. Disenfranchised, directionless, distraught, manipulated and seriously pissed off. Good luck trying to reason with that.

Trump is an excellent example of this, a serious symptom of the disease that is eating away at our society, but like the smoker who avoids the lung x-ray despite the coughing, we don’t want to acknowledge that we may be terminal. His blustering bravado and intimidation cannot obfuscate the obvious. He does not belong. He is an imposter at best and yet he is tolerated. The lower floors are too busy engaging in mass self destruction to care.

The giddy heights of our building are filled with academia. Scientists, engineers and physicists, mindless of the dangers above and below, as they forge ahead with groundbreaking discoveries that add new floors to the already compromised structure. When the collapse comes the only thing to survive will be the brave few souls that have ventured out seeking new shelter. A new building and a new future. Or perhaps simply a do over.

It may not be too late for us. When a building is deemed unsafe it is vacated and demolished. Yes there will be homeless, there will be suffering, there will be death and the scale will be unprecedented but we will have finally created something unique, unprecedented. A new civilisation built from the pinnacle and not the rubble that survives the collapse of the old.

Perhaps this time we can create a haven of logic and love. A world freed from religion and the egos of despots and tyrants. Idealistic? Hell yes. Unlikely? Definitely. We would require an earth shattering event to galvanise us, to unify us. Aliens, meteorites and other life extinction threats might just do it. I say ‘might’.

We seem destined never to learn.

4 thoughts on “Sam Harris, please help

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