Conservatism, Progressivism, and the Convergence of Crises

For civilizations
as for individuals
there are periods of crisis and transformation.

A crisis is a turning point, a crossing or fork in the road. It involves a movement into the as-yet unknown. Everybody knows this.

Every transformation involves an ordeal, to one degree or another. It depends upon the depth and scope of the transformation the individual is undergoing. Everybody knows this, also.

It also depends upon the willingness of the individual to go through that ordeal -- meaning, the individual may adapt by "rising to the occasion" -- or -- the individual may make effort to put the transformation off, until later, or indefinitely. Everybody knows this, also.

It has to do with two things:

  1. The Individual's Willingness and Ability to Learn
  2. The Individual's Willingness and Ability to Un-Learn

The Ability to Learn depends upon the Willingness to Un-Learn. Unlearning makes room.

To learn, we must loosen our grip on the feeling that we already know. That's the willingness to unlearn. This is a description of the process of education.

So it goes with individuals and so it goes with civilizations. It happens to be true of all civilizations, regardless of their differences. A consensus willingness to unlearn and to learn must prevail.

Individuals who are willing and able to learn are called, Progressives.
Individuals who are unwilling or unable to learn are called, Conservatives.

Conservatives put the brakes on education through various means, including limiting what may be taught as a strategy for enforcing the status quo.
Progressives push to accelerate education.

Conservatives prefer to limit the practice of education in a civilization.
Conservatives work against the human potential.

The problem of a civilization in crisis is a problem of education. Education is ever the means of human response to emerging, new needs.

Education calls upon and into action the creative and intelligent faculties of the individual, so each individual's faculties (including unique faculties) may emerge as new competencies, new creative contributions, to bring into the world.

Education is about emergence.

To the degree that a civilization is in crisis, to that degree it has failed to activate its people's faculties; to that degree, education has failed civilization -- or civilization has failed to educate itself adequately to catch and handle the crisis sooner, when it was smaller.

That's what Conservatism brings us.

In actuality, Conservatism conserves little and leads to the loss of much, as conditions change and we do not.

It is as with the unemployed person, laid off in a downsizing, who fails to educate himself during his compulsory off-time for fitness for employment in a new capacity. He is unprepared.

So it is with civilizations.

Education is Another Word for Maturation
Maturation is the appearance, development, and flowering of the unique faculties of every individual. It is fruition. Skills, abilities and character traits come to the fore to make an appearance in the world.

What else, is that, but education?

Thus, we may fairly say that education and maturation are two ways of seeing and talking about the same thing.

What does that say about Progressives (to speak in general)?

It suggests that Progressives who really are progressive have themselves progressed, which is to say, matured, been educated in the crucible of life to the better use of their faculties.

It also suggests that Conservatives who are anti-Progressive are less educated, which is also to say, less mature, than Progressives (in general) are. Again, we are speaking of people who are actually progressive, maturing and evolving -- not of people who are Progressive only in name or by some affiliation. We're talking The Real Thing, here.

Here's a mark of mental capacity, and therefore, of degree of education, and therefore, of maturity:

The Ability to Entertain More Than One Viewpoint at a Time

The problem and fault so common in these times is to make one criterion the basis of a choice or decision -- "It's Cheaper," for example -- without taking other factors into consideration. Small (uneducated and immature) minds tend to zero in on one criterion. A name for that is, "Fundamentalism". Another form of fundamentalism is "bottom line profit Corporatism". Economic fundamentalism. Donald Trump. In politics, it's "Win at Any Cost" -- a principle much akin to the dog who goes after the steak on the cutting board. Political fundamentalism. Hillary Clinton.

Yes, folks, the problem is fundamentalism -- otherwise known as uneducated immaturity.

Remember: "Education Broadens Minds." Ever wonder what that meant?

It doesn't mean that the amount of space inside or around your head increases. It means that you're capable of putting your intelligent attention into practice in a variety of ways and to switch among them.

That leads to the ability to take (try on) a viewpoint other than ones own and then to switch among viewpoints. That's called, "Getting Perspective" on something. It's also known as "depth perception" -- which comes from the merging of two views from two eyes.

Maturation leads to the ability to consider multiple factors, to weight them comparably and to integrate them to arrive at a new perspective or a new direction to go.

Conservatives lack that ability. They stop short and fail to try on the viewpoint of Progressives. The gravitational pull of their habitual viewpoint is too great; they can't achieve "escape velocity", and so they fall back upon themselves. And so falling, they become convinced in spirit that their retrogressive feelings are RIGHT, perhaps decreed by The Most High God, and so must be enforced at all costs. They fail to distinguish their incapacity to integrate disparate viewpoints, which is the mark of their immaturity, from the Word of the Highest God. Even without involving God, they may instead conform to the political attitude prevailing in the moment among their peers, their differences being more of surface appearance than of substance. They are surface beings, and if they don't conform to one authority, they conform to another -- except for the authority against which they rebel.

Yes, rebellion against authority: adolescent behavior -- arrested development.

Conservatives are adolescent. That's their level of maturity, of mental capacity.

Adolescents are conformist with each other and tend to have stripes of certain features broadly through the adolescent population. One thing they have in common: they make themselves different from their parents. And in politics, the parents are The Constitution of the United States of America and The Bill of Rights. The Godfather is The Declaration of Independence and The GodMother is the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States.

And the Conservatives are rebelling.

Thomas Jefferson wrote (and it is engraved in a plaque over a doorway in the Congressional Building) that a sound democracy depends upon an educated populace. He wasn't no dummy.

And Conservatives are against education and maturation past a certain point -- that point being adolescence and conformity. Simple Mindedness. Controllability. Their view.

Some may see them just as greedy and stupid. However, they may be pitied: they are mentally deficient, immature, and incapable of balancing disparate and variously opposing criteria to find a balance. They can't do it. They are simple-minded. Example: Donald Trump, who seems to think that everything can be reduced down to money and power, which he has referred to as, "Business".

Conservatives don't want anyone else to consider multiple viewpoints, either. They call that, Liberalism. Conservatives don't want to lose control, and what Conservatives are conserving, primarily, is control. Ain't it the truth?

So, "Keep the populace at least dumber than we are."

And the Conservative-controlled (Business-Minded-for-Profit) Mass-Entertainment and News Media are helping -- helping to dumb down the populace, keeping the populace distracted with trivialities -- smart phones, television and news and sports -- training the populace into short attention span with choppy video editing, blunting intelligence with plots based upon stupidity, sex, and emergency situations, working to sublimate social waves of anger, frustration, slow burn and the funk of boredom with violent entertainment, convincing the populace of their intelligence and good taste with numerous shows that involve characters or participants who are dumber than they, the viewers, are -- and controlling the minds of a distracted populace with filtered news and news coverage. Feel familiar?

Meanwhile, like a gathering tide, the crises of transformation are converging upon us.

Every transformation, passage through every crisis, involves an ordeal. Even in the most progressive of us, the wave of transformation may sometimes feel like more than we can ride and we may feel like we are drowning, emotionally, in a tide of change.

What about the poor nincompoops (Conservatives) who resist unlearning what they are so sure they already know, to face the onslaught of the unknown indisposed to prepare for it, and certain to resist it to the last moment? Would you want someone like that as the captain of your ship? Well??

Do we never learn?

Now, this matter of "entertaining more than one viewpoint at the same time":

It isn't a matter of trying to think two thoughts at the same time. True, people can think and chew gum at the same time, but cannot hold two thoughts at the same time. What people can do is more-or-less rapidly alternate between thoughts (sound familiar?).

Every thought sets up a pattern of tension in the body, the state of readiness that the thought entails. The longer you rest with a specific thought, the more vivid it becomes and the more a memory forms of it and its state of readiness. It's the memory of a feeling, the feeling of that thought.

Memory endures and then fades.

Faint memories fade faster. Better-formed memories endure longer, even if recently formed.

You can alternate between thoughts (or viewpoints) quickly enough and repeatedly, so that the after-image feeling-memory of the one thought still resonates as you think and feel the next thought.

That's how we entertain more than one viewpoint at the same time.

The two feelings overlap. If they are of close to equal and adequate intensity, they set up a new resonance in us, merge and transform into a new feeling; physical posture and breathing change in a brief moment. A new mental integration has occurred, something that was not there, before. We experience that integration as, learning, or the emergence of a new idea.

That's what happens when we entertain two thoughts at the same time.

This kind of mental transformation requires us to let go of our current viewpoint to explore something new.

There are numerous ways of using that principle to arrive at a balanced perspective on questions and matters of consequence, in which we don't know what to do; there also exists a way to direct, concentrate, and consolidate attention on something we want to create; and to illuminate and dissolve deep, pre-verbal feelings of stress, and other things.

Now, try that with two perspectives:
  • Conservative
  • Progressive
Alternate between them to get a taste of what those in these "camps" need to do.

Bring intelligence to the convergence of crises, we come through faster and with a more satisfactory outcome than if we only rebel against it.

Rebel against the convergence of crises by denial-without-intelligence, and be overtaken.

Power must be stripped from the hands of the Conservative political faction and placed in more competent hands.

Exercise your intelligence.

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