I am an historian. I know of many societies that have fallen, or began to decline, when they ended up being led by an insane person or persons. I define insanity as a state of being seriously mentally ill, often including delusional behavior and being out of touch with reality.
Do you ever look out on the world scene and ask yourself why it is that humanity seems to always be at odds with itself? It may hearten you to know that our struggle to agree on how we should conduct and organize ourselves, indeed, how to even think about our place in the ‘order of things,’ is not a new story. Humankind has been sorting itself out since our early beginnings. Across cultures and over centuries, we have talked about the conundrum of being human in a variety of ways.
Cultural evolution can be seen clearly in the history of Judaism. The beginning of Judaism can be traced to the first civilization, the Sumerian, over 5000 years ago. Some of the Sumerian Gilgamesh tales are incorporated into the Torah and known as the book of Geneses in the Christian Old Testament. The tribes of Abraham migrated from the Tigris Euphrates to the Levant. There they built a civilization centered around Jerusalem. The Israelis developed the second monotheistic religion in the world (after Zoroastrianism). The Jewish culture was built around its religion and unified tribal loyalty in society. Israelites had been expelled from Jerusalem by conquerors several times.
For some – for me – history is interesting to study in itself. But I think that the greatest importance in studying history is its relevancy of the past to the present. The contours of the different events we accept as a part of our modern world are in reality the outcroppings of layers laid down in the past. In A Preface to History Gustavson said it well. He said that history provides insights on how to respond to the changing conditions that we are experiencing today. What I will be doing here is using history to illustrate the basic concepts that I think are necessary to understand the fundamental dynamics of what is currently happening. This allows you the possibility to see the larger picture rather than just the superficiality of individual non-related events. In so doing, it removes much of the fear that is associated with the monumental change that we are just beginning to experience. It also empowers you to be an agent of change as well.
The creativity myth of the ancient Greeks involved the struggle for control between a race of giants; the Titans, and a new group of gods. The Titans ruled during a legendary ‘Golden Age’ in Greece. They were overthrown by the Olympians, a race of younger gods. It was a struggle between the forces of the ‘old way’ and of the ‘new way’. Out of this chaos a new order emerged.
On January 6, 2021, in one last attempt to steal the presidential election from newly-elected Joe Biden, Donald Trump called on his followers to assemble in Washington, DC. His supporters, motivated by his spurious claims of voter fraud, flooded the Capitol to disrupt the certification of the election.