How much brokenness?
When we look at the whole panorama of human civilization – from its beginnings, and across the world – how much of what we see is the fruit of that Force of Brokenness?
I don’t pretend to know.
Surely, it varies from time to time, and place to place. The human experience at the time of the rise of the first empires seems (to me) almost certainly worse than it was before our species left the hunter-gatherer form of life (which was still fundamentally continuous with our primate-band origins). , form way of living as hunter-gatherers.
But for people living in today’s affluent, mostly decent, liberal democracies, the imprint of Brokenness on their social world is far less.
That contemporary group – which includes this writer and likely most everyone who will ever read these words – are among the most fortunate of human beings ever. (Which, I expect, may make it more difficult to convince readers of the urgent need to take power from the Force of Brokenness that still operates in our civilization.)
And in general, the same kinds of capabilities for cultural innovation that led to humankind’s developing the ability to incinerate ourselves in a nuclear holocaust and to bring the biospheric house down on our heads also have long enabled people to create myriad components of culture that make people’s lives more fulfilling.
Nonetheless, if – as we saw in the opening quotes of “What Rules This World?” — observant people more than a millennium apart have thought that the “Devil” must be “lord of this world”; and if the chance of human civilization destroying itself over the coming centuries must be judged as very real; that should suffice to establish that whatever the proportion of civilization is the fruit of the Force of Brokenness, we surely have a battle to fight against that Force. And we had better rally the strategies and resources we need to win that fight.
How much due to “the parable of the tribes”?
How much of the totality of the brokenness in the human world – all the injustices, conflicts, cruelties, hatreds, greed – is due to this original, inevitable problem in human civilization? Had there not been such a terrible consequence to breaking out of the natural order, how whole might our civilization have been?
In the absence of this particular systemic Impetus of Brokenness, how able would humankind have been, to steer the development of our civilization toward the various forms of wholeness – peace, justice, harmony with the planet, design to maximize human fulfillment – we’d ideally desire?
How much would our inherent limitations as a species – whatever they may be – have disabled us from achieving such a civilization?
Those, too, I don’t know.
But it does seem to me intuitively that if one subtracted the brokenness that’s resulted from that problem laid out in “What Rules the World?,” we would have done a much better job of making the human world what we’d ideally want it to be.
When “Brokenness Begets Brokenness,” how could there not be a huge Impetus of Destructiveness when people are compelled to live in a world in which the Spirit of the Gangster inevitably wields great power.
(Even in our own times, the disproportionate role played by that dark Spirit can be seen, where exceptional human monsters like Hitler and Stalin have imprinted onto the human world an enormous, ugly impression.)
The Force of Brokenness inevitably introduced into the human world by “the parable of the tribes” thus consistently works to break up the wholeness of the world.
Consistently makes things worse—giving us war, not peace; giving us hatred, not love; giving us greed, not generosity; deception, not honesty; psychological brokenness, not integrity.
A Force of Brokenness, which becomes “visible” like a “wind,” if we trace the network of cause-and-effect. Spreading a pattern of brokenness in shape-shifting forms — as broken cause produces broken effect.