‘What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.’ – Mark Twain
It is interesting to note that while a great many people in society can cite phrases and quotes to describe a certain situation or event, that a proportion of that percentage of population have little to no idea of the relevance or meaning behind them. Mostly they are trotted out and uttered to validate a reason or an excuse.
Given that humanity is currently living through a pandemic, and that the lives and livelihoods of millions have been impacted as a result, provides fertile ground for the abundance of regurgitation of quotes and phrases from earlier, more uncertain times. It was the very uncertainty of those times that created those quotes and phrases that are being used in our current times.
It is said that wisdom comes with age. I have extrapolated that phrase as it is somewhat trite and bears inspection. Wisdom indeed comes with age, yet it is not a forgone that the passing of time is a certainty for the gathering of wisdom.
Wisdom requires more than a single element. It requires strength of character, clarity of vision, and appreciation of the successes and failures of the individual and the ability to learn from them. Wisdom also requires humility and honesty of self to be able to learn from these other elements. Wisdom also requires an inquisitive and questioning mind supported by a sound education, and the collection of knowledge free from the personal viewpoints of one single source that has tainted knowledge from an entirely subjective stance rather than observing objectivity. Importantly, this also requires the ability to not only accept criticism from peers, but also from self-criticism by means of critical reflection.
It can and should be argued that all knowledge has a subjective component, for this is true. However, knowledge should have both objective and subjective in the collection and discourse for it to have any real meaning.
The phrase: ‘History is written by the victors.’ is attributed to Winston Churchill; however, it is acknowledged that the origins of this phrase are unknown. This illustrates that even history and accepted historical facts are tainted with the subjective views of the victors and that the vanquished have little part in it beyond being part of recorded history.
It is said in an essay, that should be required reading in schools, being ‘The Fate of Empires’. Sir John Glubb wrote that history repeats. He postulates that empires have six distinct ages and that by studying the historical recorded information going back 4000 years, being the relative extent of known, recorded human civilisation that this has relevance. Glubb found that the inspection of history was too short and fragmented into portions of history rather than as a whole.
What came before that is relatively unknown due to the sparsity of human civilisation being in preserved written records. The extent of civilisation being relative to recorded information, and the rise and fall of empires as a result, being unknown must by honest account is unknown and therefore speculative.
This speculation is further muddied with historical archaeological doctrine being that anything that is unable to be determined being relegated to barbaric practices or religious beliefs. The simple solution was the one preferred.
This is explored in the book; “Uriel’s Machine’ which explored this premise and attempted to discredit this simplistic view by providing evidence that archaeologists were unable, or unwilling to investigate. It must be noted that the authors of this spent twenty years in research to put forward an opposing thesis that was widely ridiculed until the advent of further scientific and archaeological research that has come to validate portions of their original thesis as the years have unrolled. It should be noted that the writer does not subscribe to the entirety of the book chapter and verse.
Another example is the scientist, Eugene Parker, who first put forward that space was not empty and rather filled with a ‘solar wind’. He based his findings on the research of others; being Ludwig Biermann’s theory of Solar Corpuscular Radiation, and Sydney Chapman’s theory of Coronal Extension, both of which were mutually exclusive, but limited. Parker was soundly ridiculed by his peers of that era, as the firmly accepted belief of that time was that space was empty and that nothing could escape the gravitational field of our star. It wasn’t until the advent of explorations into space, and the discovery that space was indeed filled with a solar wind emanating from our star that his thesis was proven.
In both examples presented, the authors of these opposing theories to accepted doctrines wisely refrained from crowing their validation and rather leave it to questioning minds to formulate their own conclusions.
History is a harsh mistress and it judges not with bias.
Well may you ask what this has to do with the health of Australia?
Australia as it stands right in this moment in time is subject to the currents of history and the machinations of both political manipulation and social unrest. Due, in large, to the machinations of the agendas of minorities that have risen to prominence as they ride on the back of decades of subtle, and not so subtle, engineering of social reform by groups that have an agenda entirely of their own design.
The rise of socialist and fascist doctrines abound in western society, rebadged in a modern format that exploit moments in time to spread widespread social upheaval in a time when civilisation is confronting challenges to the very fabric of society and civilisation due to economic and political upheaval.
Parallels in history can be taken from the French Revolution, and the rise of socialism in what we know now as the Russian Federation or back then as simply Russia, or the Soviet Union, in the Stalin and Lenin eras from the Trotskyist era of Marxism. Both events in history were reliant on the ignorance of the masses and the insertion into the mainstream psyche of society an ideology of a utopian ideal of society based in equality for the masses.
As history records, these moments in history were the mass manipulation of the ignorant masses to acquire and seize control by misinformation and subjugation of population by overthrowing the ruling classes of that time that had succumbed to the entropy of their own excesses.
History also records that the success of these revolutions resulted in not a new utopian society of equality. Rather it replaced one repressive regime for another that was inherently more repressive with regards to the message portrayed being social cohesion and equality for the masses.
The end of empire ends not on a certain date, rather it fades away with the bulk of society paying the price for its own ignorance as the age of decadence fades in the rise of a new regime. This was the content of Glubb’s essay, and he detailed it well.
An example in history is evidenced in the fall of the Spanish rule due in large part to the island nation we know as Britain in its quest for relevance and dominance embarking on the adventure legislated by Queen Elizabeth the First in her commission of ‘privateers’ to raid and sack the Spanish for their wealth as they in turn sacked the Aztec Empire for their gold.
As is written; ‘Behind every great fortune is a crime’. This is relevant today just as it was in times past.
Britain did just that until the privateers became outlaws to their country as they outlived their usefulness, and then came to be known as pirates and despised rather than admired. Such is how the ruling elite exert their will and dominance and cast aside the vessels of their advancement as it suits them.
In both examples the populations of these societies were manipulated into supporting these causes and in the case of the English, the vilification of the privateers when they had served their purpose.
It takes little effort given the advent of technology that not only places in the hands of the masses the sum total of human knowledge, but also by sheer dint of overabundance of information the means to manipulate the masses by means of disinformation by utilising this very overabundance of information.
When our population has the means for critical inspection of the information supplied, we are overwhelmed by it and instead turn to other sources to supply us with the knowledge we desire in a more simplistic fashion.
The advent of social media has supplied the platform for widespread information dissemination that in turn is perverted by the refusal to examine that information as it too onerous a task. Instead reliance on the information presented by others is the preference, often without inspection, which in turn is speculative and driven by agenda rather than reason or fact. Mainstream media also manipulate information by presenting what they want to present and presenting it in the fashion that they choose rather than the impartial presentation of facts.
Blind acceptance of distorted or perverted information is desirous and subjective rather than objective and subject to inspection as that has become a task too difficult to bear. It is easier to accept what is delivered rather than to be inquisitive and questioning. Honest and open debate is cancelled by any means possible as that process would discredit the message being promoted. Salacious is more appealing than morality as is evidenced by the rise and rise of empowerment which in and of itself is contradictory.
Political correctness and cancel culture are modern terms, yet they have roots based in history and a rudimentary study of this makes it apparent. Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and the list goes on has relied on the delusion of population, and the rabid extolling of a doctrine that is based in self-interest rather than anything that perpetuates the advancement of our species. However, the promotion of this doctrine is packaged in an alluring cover which appeals to the masses.
History is replete with the other side of these ideals and it is never a happy ending. We as a species remind ourselves in hindsight that the direction and morality of our species can and will be perverted to a selfish agenda and cause based in the ideology of the few simply because we allow it.
Yet we fail to learn from history as we are blind to it.
How better to bend the collective will of an ignorant population to an ideology than to present a narrative based in simplistic terms that support an ideal via a popular platform in the scathing desecration of the current morals and values of society. The platform is defined by the era we inhabit.
It is dressed in the sheep’s clothing of social cohesion and equality.
The very author of one modern platform, being Facebook, actually makes no bones about his very derision of people in general as he perpetuates the belief that being connected and publicly posting the most banal and intimate experiences of the human condition somehow is in the interests of human connection. This is executed by a remote and uncaring platform that only exists to collect information about the user in the interests of not just greed but also about manipulation of the masses. Yet population, from the top to the bottom, embrace this, some in ignorance and some as a manipulation tool for their own goals.
There are more platforms than just Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and on and on it goes. There are blogs, alternative news sites and more that promotes their point of view or encourages rabid attacks on opponents of their ideology. Facebook just happens to be the most widely known and used.
Without exploring this in this essay, as it has been done exhaustingly in print and media, the vast bulk of all segments of society has been deluded in the belief that they have not only a voice but also that their voice can effect a positive change in society.
It is true that every person has the right to have a voice, yet that right must be earnt and cannot be given without qualification. Regretfully the right to have a voice no longer has any grounding in that it must be earnt.
The original intent of the internet; being the free and open exchange of information and views open to peer review and debate has been perverted by the actions of the few to bend the collective will of the many. At the core of this it is about power and greed, nothing else.
In society today the absenters of social media are the outcasts and pariahs rather than the opposite, such is the invasive actions of these platforms. It is common for an absenter to experience the shocked disbelief from others that they do not use social media, and then the frustration as they are encouraged or coerced to join in. Refusal to comply at times results in exclusion, but always derision in some form.
This begs the question. Who are the sheep and who are the shepherds?