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Imminent Collapse Begins When

Better it is to be able to look forward to and see that a process of imminent collapse is in the works than to perennially look backwards to view its aftermath. What value is there in "I told you so" if it doesn't prompt the listener to be more circumspect the next time. When, then, does imminent collapse begin? What are some of the antecedent conditions that beg the Principle of Imminent Collapse to realize itself?

Technology moves faster than Sociology
Sociology moves faster than Biology
Sociology moves faster than Religion
Legality moves faster than Sociology
We Fail to Pay Attention to Little Things

Technology moves faster than Sociology       «Post Comment»

When the Chinese invented gunpowder, it was not gun powder. Rather it was the makings of entertainment, wrapped tightly with other chemical compounds that made the flames burn red, green, blue, yellow and orange. The fireworks were a brilliant new discovery for a civilization fraught with organized and institutionalized violence as a means of governance and control. It was not long, however, before some military strategist realized that exploding black powder made a frightful weapon and a projectile propellant far superior to the string of a bow. Soon the world had guns of all sizes from the sidearm to the iron canons. We humans put the gun to use at a time many centuries before we had the sense to know where to point it.

Every major discovery of Man has been put to the use of torturing and killing his fellow man. When the helical inclined plane was discovered, Man made it into thumb-screws and the first printing presses. The thumb-screws came first and were more widely copied. The printing press however has proven the more influential over the centuries, for good and ill.

The ancient fulcrum and lever made it possible to build cathedrals and pyramids. It also made it possible to more efficiently extract a prisoner's confession by extracting his limbs from their sockets on the legendary rack. When scientists put Einstein's E=MC2 equation to first use they saw the result of the first terrestrial fission of an atomic nuclei in rapid reaction. Then they built it into a compact case and dropped two of them the Japanese. This nuclear reaction started a secondary reaction that is still smoldering today. In the 1950s and 60s the world caught its collective breath over and over as the USA and the USSR teetered back and forth on a precarious fulcrum and lever that each side tried to extend to its own benefit.

Now, today, the legacy of those days is the opportunity for anyone with enough money to buy a bomb for use as bargaining power or as a tool of shock and awe to demoralize an otherwise powerful enemy. We (and the Soviets) always thought of the Bomb as a prelude to an all-out attack or as retaliation to a massive conventional attack. Today the threat is from "loose Nukes" in the hands of people who merely wants to shake things up. We can send robots to Mars and probes deep into space to look at distant planets and moons up close, but we cannot stop hacking each other to death with the weapons of our primitive forbearers. When technology makes a bigger club and the underlying nature of Man's psyche doesn't keep up, we get caught up in the Principle of Imminent Collapse.

Nicholi Tesla allegedly discovered a method of transmitting electrical energy to any place on the Earth using a theory of sin waves that interfered constructively to create nodes where the transmitted energy could be tapped. It has also been alleged that his discovery has been hushed up to bolster the sales of oil products and more conventional energy sources. If indeed he did make such a discovery and it has been covered up, it is probably has been done for very great reasons. If it were truly that easy to create such a system, any second-rate dictator or wannabee world leader could direct a lethal and destructive energy wave into any address he chose. There would be no defense against such a phenomenon.

In this 21st century, we can communicate globally in seconds by radio wave, copper cable, fiber-optic cable, satellite and cell-phone. We can do it with voice, text and pictures. But can we convey important information any better than we could with face-to-face meetings or pen and ink on paper delivered in an envelope? Can we actually communicate? Or are we re-enacting the building of the tower at Babel? We don't say much but we say it fast.

Sociology moves faster than Biology       «top»     «Post Comment»

In the 1960s, a formerly repressed and puritanical society in Western culture cut loose from those mores and taboos to declare a new era of peace and free love. The customs of the older generations were cast aside as being so out-dated and irrelevant and a new young generation came into its own. Marriage, a long-standing social institution, was largely abandoned as too restrictive and confining when true love would conquer all. Anyone who declared himself or herself "with another" was in some form already married, but with the caveat that if someone else struck your fancy, that person could join the association and leave as freely as they wanted.

This loose affiliation of lovers (and other strangers) marked a utopian lifestyle doomed by the Principle of Imminent Collapse from the very start. Biology took over and directed the attitudes and behaviors in a more decisive way than any social experiment could hope to change. Ultimately, women wanted an assurance of continued financial support for their children and a father who would be there to help raise them, not just a sperm donor.

Also the Biblical concept of limiting sexual relations to married persons for the purposes of procreation has its roots in biological hygiene. Even in those Biblical times Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) were a factor of life. If two people married and only had sex with each other, a disease could not spread. Even if one man took several wives and they stayed with him for life, disease could not spread. Even with a sub-culture of promiscuous people (Sodom and Gomorra-ites) prostitutes and their patrons, the spread of a disease would necessarily be constrained to that circle of practitioners.

The practice of widespread sexual contact has allowed STDs to flourish because the old basic biology has not kept up with the social demands we place on our bodies. The HIV infections that becomes AIDS spreads in this fashion, between and among person who engage in the risky practices of unprotected sex and careless drug use with shared needles.

The Just Say No to Drugs campaign and the abstinence-only approach to sex education in our elementary and secondary schools is a recipe for the Principle of Imminent Collapse. The preaching of abstinence as the only sex education young people will ever need could serve only to limit pregnancies, not STDs. The result of sexual intercourse with respect to pregnancy affects only the two persons involved in a primary way, that is to say, a pregnant girl cannot pass the pregnancy onto to another girl, directly or through another boy with whom she subsequently has sex. STDs are quite different. Whereas there may be one or two pregnancies in a high school class, there are never just one or two cases of syphilis or gonorrhea. Either there is none, or there is a whole collection. Our bodies are just not ready for free-love and causal sex.

So far, we have been far better in lengthening the human life span than we have been in improving the last few years before the eventual outcome of aging. Now that we can transplant a heart, a kidney, a liver, we have the dilemma of how to do it for every person whenever the need arises. Cost is one limiting factor and the availability of organs is another. Technology has made it possible, but society is not ready to foot the bill or donate the tissues at the level necessary to achieve any sort of equity in the process. With more people living longer for many other reasons, and there being around 79 million baby boomers, the problem of the shortage of resources will only can worse. Imminent collapse of the organ transplant system for lengthening lives is at hand because technology has moved far faster than Biology (and Sociology, for that matter.)

Sociology moves faster than Religion       «top»     «Post Comment»

Religion is a means of slowing progress down and of maintaining traditional ways. It is a means of governance that either IS the government or tries to circumvent it, supplant it and be in control by enlisting participation of key persons within the government. Judge John Devine of Texas and Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, among others elsewhere, refused to remove the Ten Commandments from public display in their courthouses. The question here is not whether you believe that the Ten Commandments have a place in a public place or not. Rather, this is an example of how religion works its back door approach when blocked at the front door. If it cannot get the consensus from open discourse, it works its way into the constituent parts by influencing key people to take a stand.

Moral actions are closely aligned with religious motives, but they cannot be allowed to be THE reason for holding a position, making a law or issuing a ruling. After all, if we were using Biblical justifications, we could make a case for the reinstitution of slavery of Africans and for executing adulterers.

It's a darned good thing that Moses dropped the third tablet that specified the mandatory minimum sentences for breaking a Commandment.

In January 2004, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 2 million of the faithful Muslims gathered again, as they do each year there for Hajj to worship and uphold centuries old traditions. On this day, 244 of the faithful were trampled to death, with another estimated 244 persons injured, when a human stampede erupted. Nearly every year, some level of trampling or other tragedy takes place during this celebration. It is because the site of the celebration and the length of the observance were not designed for the attendance of 2 million people. The level of sanitation takes a significant dip. Several times the tent city that swells during the pilgrimage has caught fire and swept hundreds to their death.

Legality moves faster than Sociology       «top»     «Post Comment»

Mental illness has plagued humans since the very first complex minds evolved (or were Created) millions of years ago (or 6000 years if you insist.) The time frame and the methods of rise are not important in this discourse. The fact is that we as a species have mental illness that begs for a policy of treatment, to either correct, or merely maintain the person so impacted.

Some people in some societies reached equilibrium with the larger society and found a place within that was protected. Not every society has understood the nature of mental illnesses and banished the afflicted to asylums where all sorts of bizarre treatments and abuse were perpetrated upon them in the name of science and treatment.

Beginning in the 1970s yet another experiment was devised for the handling of persons with mental illnesses based mainly in Law, but which derived benefits in the form of reduced government spending for the treatment of such persons. The laws were enacted that guaranteed that a person would not be committed to involuntary treatment unless he/she posed a direct threat to self of others. Institutions that had routinely housed persons who sometimes needed supervision, and some people that did not, began a program of discharge into the community at large. This was the great Deinstitutionalization that has brought with it a degradation to our society as a whole, but granted freedoms to the oppressed individuals incarcerated because we did not like the way they participated in social activities.

Thousands of people are released without follow up and ended up on the streets as itinerants who had no employment skills, nor behaviors that would make them suitable to live in "polite society" in a home of their own, with family and friends upon which to rely. Thousands more obtain support services and reside in group residences where paid staff assist them. But still the law provides that if the person refuses to stay at a residence, they cannot be forced.

It is the nature of some mental diseases that keeps a person from understanding that they indeed are at risk for physical disease and death due to the behaviors that manifest because of the mental disease. The results are that many of the homeless persons we see on the streets, under the bridges and in the doorways are indeed mentally ill. The underlying problem is that we do not have a solution to the problem that is all of moral, legal, ethical, affordable and desirable. The "not in my backyard" attitude has kept many solutions from being instituted.

We Fail to Pay Attention to Little Things       «top»     «Post Comment»

"Bad news and garbage don't improve with time" likewise a few small fissures in the dike are a harbinger of a future disaster. If we take note and do something effective, like lowering the water level in the reservoir, we reduce the chances of any failure at all. It's like graffiti, too. If it is left in place, it multiplies. Any 'tag' that is left for other people to see is an open invitation to the next 'artist' to go one better or mark his territory too. In 1982, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling quantified the phenomenon with the broken window as the example. A broken window, left unrepaired, invites more broken windows and an escalation of vandalism in and around the broken window. Like my early example of the randomly oriented dominoes that get knocked over without creating a massive cascading failure. If each time a few dominoes fall, they are replaced and aligned, the overall degradation of the entire field of tiles will be slight. If someone cares, the damage is limited. If they don't, imminent collapse occurs. If the dominos are not re-set, they act like the broken window and invite some to cause further collapse. Successive nudges ultimately make a mess of the whole set of dominoes.

My father worked for many years as an Engineer for Westinghouse Electric. While touring various areas of the plant, he held onto a cigarette butt for a long time while looking for an ashtray, placing it in one when it was located. Later that same day, while still touring with the same visitors, he summarily dropped the spend butt on the floor and crushed it under foot. One visiting Manager commented to him about the disparity of his actions. He replied, "look around. Down here they don't care."

In a larger sense, nature acts in the same way as do perfectly ordinary people when it comes to deterioration. Roads and bridges don't maintain themselves. No highway ever spontaneously patched its own potholes or mowed its grassy median strip. People have to act proactively to keep up what has been first been built. It's a lot like cocaine addicts not spontaneously and voluntarily quitting their drug use. It takes a concerted effort to maintain a high level of civilization, because even a few perpetrators can precipitate the degradation of an urban or industrial environment.

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Posted: 2008 16:21
Posted: 2008 16:21
Posted: 2008 16:21
Posted: 2008 16:21