Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Those Who Want to See the World Burn

“He can’t be bought, bullied or negotiated with… some people just want to see the world burn.”— Alfred (Michael Caine) speaking of the Joker, in
The Dark Knight (2008)

Fabius Maximus has posted a three-part series, discussing "people who just want to see the world burn." I think it is well worth your time to read them and ponder this type of individual, especially in the light of the socionomic model of mass human behavior.

  • “Some people just want to see the world burn” - This is the first post in a series... ...It’s not about India, or specific religions. This is the dark side of humanity, a battle that has to be fought each generation. Sometimes the battle goes poorly, as these killers find homes in both sides of the many non-trinitarian (or 4th generation wars) that rage across the globe.
  • India looks at the monster in the mirror - ...This is the third in a series about a special kind of person, people who just want to see the world burn. It’s not about India, or specific religions. These people find homes on all sides of every 4GW conflict. These are our enemies. The practitioners of real-politics who ally with them betray our civilisation and do us no good...

As Fabius points out, these types of personalities have been part of civilization since its onset. Various strains exist and we can look to art for dramatic examples. One being Tyler Durden in Pahlaniuk's "Fight Club," another being the psychotic rebel leader Jack Cade from "Shakespeare's" Henry VI, Part 2.

Tyler Durden: "You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the worst thing that can happen. We don't need Him. Fuck damnation, man, fuck redemption! If we are God's unwanted children, so be it!"

Jack Cade to Dick the Butcher: They fell before thee like sheep and oxen, and thou behavedst thyself as if thou hadst been in thine own slaughter-house: therefore thus will I reward thee, the Lent shall be as long again as it is; and thou shalt have a licence to kill for a hundred lacking one.

These men (and women) are tiny sparks that float along in the wind. Most of the time the mass social mood works against them. They flame out in drunken brawls in bars or wind up dead or in prison, a victim of their own consuming rage.

Every now and again, the winds of social mood shift. The optimism that underpins the hard work and reasoned efforts that build up great civilizations shifts to a nihilistic pessimism. When these waves of behavior are on a smaller scale, such as the late 1960's and much of the 1970's in the United States, there is a malaise, a floundering of "national purpose" and an attack on the superstructures of society.

Rarely, the mood shift is very deep and profound. It is my personal belief that we are at one of those hinge points in history, a turning of a centuries-long cycle towards a time of anger and destruciton.

During such times, it is not the superstructure that is attacked, but the foundations themselves. Anger and pessimism flourish. Vast numbers of citizens find little reason to continue to "buy in" to the social norms set up during the previous flood tide of optimism. When large numbers find themselves ambivalent about the project of civilization, these men and women who want to see the world burn, these angry sparks, alight on the dry kindling of corruption, foolishness and indebtedness that has grown up during the decadent last days (the fifth wave in EW terms) of the preceding boom. There they have a much greater chance of setting the whole thing on fire.

Now, just because the social "weather" is conducive to such a storm does not mean that a violent storm of 4GW and 5GW is guaranteed to erupt in all places. It does mean that you should consider what sort of umbrella you will need to guard against that storm.

Action Items

We are in low supply on answers at the moment, here at FutureJacked. If, as expected, job losses continue to mount. If, as expected, the ability of the federal government to direct events in a vaguely competent manner continues to deteriorate. If, as expected, state governments continue to implode under the twin pressures of high debt loads and shriveling tax bases. Then we might see an angry reaction, a violent and irrational and destructive reaction that is little more than an excuse to act out the rage building in a growing number of our fellow citizens.

Such explosions need only the occasional "bad actor" to help spark them. King Mob needs only a few individuals to coalesce around.

We can hope that reactions will be more on the side of a "screw it" attitude. A sort of Russian response to collapse and all that it entails - drunken idleness, passive-aggressive destruction of entrepreneurs via local bureaucrats, petty crimes, public displays mocking The Powers That Be and other such low-grade responses to the frustrations building up.

You might look at your place of residence, your workplace and yourself for a moment. Imagine looking at it from the eyes of an enraged mob. How would you be able to defend yourself against a mob? Who could you count on to help (here's one option)? What signs would you look for in your local community that could lead to mob actions? What sorts of unresolved grievances are held by various groups (if any)? Is there a history of large-scale violence in your area?

No real answers, more of a storm warning for you today. The "answers" remain the same - connect with friends and family. Know your neighbors. Enjoy each day to the fullest. Be prepared.

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