If you spend as much time as I do monitoring the news and commentary of the day — “current events”, as they are called — you come to an awful conclusion: that there is a veritable tsunami of unreason and illogic at our “end of history” and in “the new normal”. Something has gone terribly awry with the content and process of thinking: it’s fractured, tortured, twisted, insipid, banal. Self-contradiction and “cognitive dissonance” are epidemic.
You have to wonder how it is that generations of public education have yielded such poor results?
“Dehiscence” is a term used in botany to describe the last stages in the life of a plant or flower. It is when the plant, upon reaching maturity, dies, but in the process bursts or otherwise broadcasts its seeds. In the old Dark Age Blog, I used that term to describe the last stages of an over-ripe civilisation. In this post, I want to give some examples of that, and to suggest that the “dehiscence” of the Modern Era has already occurred.
For anyone who thinks that Barbara Tuchman’s account of history as the “March of Folly” ended with former neo-con Francis Fukuyama’s declaration of “The End of History” — that is to say, that the “March of Folly” finally ended with the superior wisdom of neo-conservatism or neo-liberalism — well, all I can say is: “I’ve got a genuine extraterrestrial flying saucer for sale”. I also have an interesting historical anecdote about that and about “blowback” which, for some inexplicable reason, occurs to me a 3:00 am in the morning.