9. Cultural Cycles and Climate Change - Western Culture Cycle 3 - Conclusion and Challenges
Earth Period, Consolidation, Decline, Conclusion 1921- 2160
The American Century is a term used to describe the 20th century, as the United States largely dominated the politics, economics, and culture of the period. It is comparable to the description of the period 1815–1914 as Britain's Imperial Century. The UnitedStates' influence became especially dominant after the end of World War II, when only two superpowers remained, the United States and the Soviet Union who lost its status after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In addition to its political influence, the United States has had a significant economic influence having the largest economy in the world at the end of the century.Both powers are now being challenged by China. American systemsare rooted in capitalist economic theory, based on supply and demand, that is, production determined by customers' demands with great investment made in stimulating desires for greater consumption.
Regarding the Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions, from the time of the conjunction on 21December 2020, all the conjunctions going forward will be in Earth signs until 2100 and then overlap until 2160. This means that there is not very muchhistory for us to explore during this Earth period, though we will look at someof the trends that provide us an indication of the future direction in the Western European/US cultures. What can be noted about the period beginning early in the 20th century is the cataclysmic effectof the two wars fought in Europe, marking the end of the Fire period, where millions of young people died, seriously weakening the European culture and its ability to face the challenges confronting it in the 21st century.
The ClimateChange issue which we will cover in more detail has come about due to the violation of natural law, a lack of care for Mother Nature. The reason this has happened is the great emphasis that was placed on the fire based economicgrowth along with the strong desire for financial gain. This is not going to becurbed immediately, but due to the oncoming series of Earth based conjunctions, there will be change in emphasis.
We should not think that we have to imitate fully what happened in the past, though it is important to understand the prime elements that need to change and what direction one needs to travel. We have many choices in today’s society, freedom in that respect is full. The difficulty, though, is in making the rightchoices, the right decisions. The basis of our decisions is strongly influenced by our values, that which we hold to be dear. Our strong belief is that by following these values, we will achieve greater happiness, peace and fulfilment. What are the dominant cultural values in our societytoday? They are the same as they were at the end of the Roman Empire.
WEALTH, POWER, FAME AND PLEASURE
The daily stream of newspaper articles and numerous scientific reports about the increasingly high degree of stress, depression, obesity, violence, broken families, drug addiction, self-harm,participation in perverted sexual practices - the list goes on - all seem to point to the fact that we are not following the right path, as happiness is not being gained.
Dealing with excess, knowing when to say no, is one of the most challenging situations for us today and it must be addressed if a more empathetic, ethical and healthy society is to be developed.
SUMMARY – What are some of the major problems and challenges for the Western European/ American Culture today?
• Major Values of the day are wealth, power, fame & pleasure. Excess in these domains has become the norm, for example, pornography and marijuana are now rapidly expanding businesses.
• We are a predominantly materialistic society dominated by scientific dogma that says if something cannot be quantifiably measured, it is illusion, it is not real.
• There is little or in some cases no spiritual education offered to young people and participation in the traditional religious services has substantially decreased for the older generations.
• The family as a cohesive supportive unit is in the verge of collapse has caused increased stress and tension in young people raised without the love and discipline offered by both parents.
• Highly advanced technology, resulting in increasing dependence on the internet and social media, with unregulated damaging material available, even to young children. Artificial Intelligence will bring even greater dependency on technology without proper understanding by individuals.
• Continually growing disparity between rich and poor.
• Economically powerful, with the United States still first globally and some European countries still represented in G8, though both are slipping. This next century may see no European countries in the top ten world economies.
• Overemphasis on my freedom and equality; my rights - not duties, and my idea is as good as yours, leading to a fragmentation of society.
• Urbanisation - the problems created by the mass of people living in crowded polluted cities.
• Climate Change, which has become a global problem. The West, being the current dominant economic power, needs to make significant changes to its policies and actions that damage Nature for the sake of economic gain.
All these issues are addressed in the book when the way forward is presented.
We will dedicate the next series of blogs to a brief look at the cultural cycles of the Chinese, Indian and Arabic cultures.