Lifecycle of Democracy

Supposedly, nothing great lasts forever. The best democracies in history, Athens and Rome being two of the most successful, eventually came to an end. The United States may be the greatest civilization to date, but could it be possible that we’re reaching our end as well? Or are we reaching a threshold of transcendence into a new form of government?

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years, and in those 200 years the nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith

2. From spiritual faith to great courage

3. From courage to liberty

4. From liberty to abundance

5. From abundance to complacency

6. From complacency to apathy

7. From apathy to dependence

8. From dependence back into bondage

Supposedly the United States has entered into the stage of apathy in which everyone has their hand out, and simply votes for whoever offers to give the most. This apathy leads to a dependent welfare state that breeds laziness, and an ultimate sacrifice of our greatest liberties and freedoms, which will always lead back into tyranny and bondage.

Our new President stands for such a symbol of hope, and we are all wondering how that hope will translate. Many of his opponents say that he’s a socialist… yet isn’t the ultimate form of government socialism with an unbiased intelligence to allocate resources? Communism failed not in theory, but because the allocation of resources was placed into human beings hands, in which case greed and corruption festered and led to its demise. But isn’t the same thing happening to us in this free market ‘democracy’?

The United States is in a very unique situation to transcend and create a technological governance. We are pioneering the Information age. Everyone is becoming more and more connected and gaining a greater ability to have the information of their life sent into an intelligent neural network. If DARPA and the great minds of Silicon Valley and Cambridge can in fact spawn a true technological intelligence… a collective intelligence that has a symbiotic relationship with its citizens… then resources can be allocated optimally and much time and money can be diverted away from bipartisan attempts to come up with the right ‘amount.’ Instead public servants exist to execute and neural nets and genetic algorithms allocate. More importantly, citizens will breathe new life into our democracy by becoming transparent and contributing life information to the system.

The great concern is that human greed will be inherited by this collective intelligence. If humans are programming the algorithms then, there will inherently be greed and power ingrained in the fabric. Okay, so then the computers need to program the algorithms, but then you realize you reach a never ending cycle, and ultimately come to the conclusion that we may not have the capability to prevent this and live in a symbiotic harmony with a greater intelligence because power is what drives us and greed is a means to achieve power. Think about how we exploit lesser intelligence on our planet. The cycles of ups and downs that greed creates are simply the waves of the universe and not something uniquely felt or expressed by humanity. The higher intelligence must always possess this force to continue to evolve and neuralize our galaxy and our universe, helping it become aware of itself.

Regardless if this is true or not (movies like the Matrix or I, Robot tell us we can in fact achieve symbiosis, but only after a period of battle), it is inevitable that we are heading in this general direction. There have to be intelligent systems created to allocate resources, balance the interest rate, optimize the energy grid, and on and on. The global economy is too fast paced for any Fed Chairman or NGO to come up with answers fast enough. The question is can we control our future? Can we transcend democracy? Can we harness the force of greed for the good? Is the human race genius enough to create technology that governs us without exploiting us?

We are certainly reaching a threshold as China continues to buy our debt and our economy continues to weaken.  We all know that if things continue to escalate, our nation will become vulnerable to attacks, and if we’re attacked we will be forced to retaliate and the world will be pushed to the brink.

However, there is restored hope with Obama in office and the world waits to see the results of his administration. Obviously, what I believe will save us is technological advancement. , collective intelligence, creation of a smart energy grid combined with the growing user generated content of the Internet. All serving to educate the public to get involved and feel ego-less motivation to share their information with the world. Becoming altruistically transparent for the good of the whole, and ultimately benefiting individual lives more! Gotta love ideals.. Ayn Rand would probably want my head, but maybe not because benefiting yourself to benefit the whole is the psychology that can win. The more genuine your purpose is to benefit yourself for the whole, the more benefit you will gain.

Pretty much threw the whole kitchen sink into this one… was feeling rather alarmist today, which isn’t so much my nature. I tend to be an optimist that sees beauty and eros, as the ancient Greeks would say, as the driving force of the human spirit rather than greed, but these are all potential realities that we have to face.

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Posted in Culture, Economy, Technology | 5 Comments »

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7PWRSZI2XRU3AXUKGGM5ATV2OQ Gandalf deGrey

    “There have to be intelligent systems created to allocate resources”, “collective intelligence”

    “Ayn Rand would probably want my head” – yes, because your choice of language above clearly shows your socialist philosophy.

    Individual liberty, the rights of the individual, independent thought… these are the concepts that drove the constitution.  We’ve strayed quite far enough, thank you very much.  Hopefully events since 2009 make this clear.

  • http://grapethinking.com Greg

    I have more of a technologist philosophy, rather than socialist. I think how technology facilitates social networks is a case and point. What are your thoughts on the future of America?

  • Berdolloyd

    The people who have to make the decisions to change the system are too beholden to the money that put them there to make any decision contrary to the interests of the money that put them there. A plutocracy will not tolerate changes to the status quo that enables them to enjoy the fruits of their greed. When politicians are beholden to money, we have a plutocracy,not democracy, and it’s too late for decision-making for the well being of the majority of people. Our current system for the distribution of wealth is unstable, can’t be changed, and is therefore doomed.

  • Deverix

    Wow. You wrote that in 2009, not realizing that Pres. Obama’s election (and possible reelection here in 2012) would be the #1 factor contributing to the decline of our Democracy, which was your starting premise.  Spending $2 for every $1 in taxes is a moral outrage, as we give people benefits now hoping the bill will never come.  Well, friends, the bill just showed up.  $16 TRILLION in debt.  We are in BONDAGE to the debt – to CHINA in particular.  So, we’re in stage 7 now.  Obama, unfortunately, turned out to be a DISASTER.

  • http://grapethinking.com Greg

    I’m interested in the “sharing economy” that has blossomed through social networking – collaborative consumption to be put another way. In the post, I kept mentioning algorithms for allocating resources, but it seems we are creating social tools to allocate amongst ourselves. I think, on a deeper level, this is starting to address the massive issue of waste that exists in our economic system and the world as a whole. 

    Regarding Obama, it is unfortunate that he has not been able to do more, but the Democrats’ platform this election is sound in that he inherited a hell of a problem that simply can’t be turned around in 4 years.

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