It is impossible to assess your age, at least in the context of prior ages, as you have perspective on those prior ages that you lack for your own age. There’s also the fact that you can’t really remember how something felt. You can remember that some event caused you pain or made you happy, but you cannot recall the feeling. It is why we have the expression, “Time heals all wounds.” Still, one cannot help but sense that this age is peculiar and paradoxical compared to prior ages.
We seem to be at the great confluence of several historical cycles. One cycle coming to an end is the story of the American empire, which itself is the final chapters of the the Anglosphere and the Industrial Revolution. Another is the closing of the post-Cold War interregnum. We’re also in the final stages of the Enlightenment. Of course, we are at the dawn of the demographic age. There are probably other historical cycles ending and beginning, but those are the obvious ones.
As a result, we live in a time of glaring contradictions. Just as physics seems to have hit a dead end, our own story seems to have reached a point where it seems impossible to resolve the contradictions while maintaining the old beliefs. The only thing everyone can agree upon is the present order is not working. That in itself is a paradox, because for most of our history, great material excess was the goal. Just as we have reached that point, everyone is unhappy with the result.
Of course, it is possible that people in prior ages had the same sense, which is what drove them to alter their trajectory. The great social and political movements that came into being in the 19th century did not spring from nothing. Industrialization and urbanization failed to live up to their promise. The bloody resolutions to those social conflicts in the 20th century got us to this point, so maybe this is just the natural cycle of human history. We resolve one conflict in order to confront another.
Still, it does feel like we are living in an age in which all of the old truths we have always accepted are being disproved. A third of the country is out of work, which we were told was an untenable condition, but no one seems to notice. Revolutions from the top were supposed to be a clever turn of phrase, not a real thing. Yet, here we are living through a revolt of the ruling class against the majority population. The weirdness of this age is something that cannot be dismissed.
That is the value of thinking about paradoxes. They cause you to reassess your thinking and reconsider old assumptions. The great test of any theory is reality. This is why libertarianism is nonsense. It exists only in theory and only in isolation. The defenders of the status quo have to deal with the fact that in many cases, the reality of liberal democracy has fallen short of what was promised. In some cases, the important ones, we seem to be getting the opposite of what was promised.
This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. I am now on Deezer, for our European haters and Stitcher for the weirdos. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.
Note: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is like a tea, but it has a milder flavor. It’s hot here in Lagos, so I’ve been drinking it cold. It is a great summer beverage.
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This Week’s Show
- 00:00: Opening
- 02:00: The Value Of Paradoxes
- 12:00: The Paradox Of Democracy
- 27:00: The Paradox Of Markets
- 42:00: The Paradox of Modernity
- 57:00: Closing
Full Show On Spreaker
Full Show On YouTube