"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
The world is more connected today than ever but it is also more fragmented. People around the planet have an incredible capacity for connectivity. However we form figurative islands that separate and categorize, sharpen ideology and dichotomy; and thus we create more stark divisions of financial, social, political and religious groups, which often evolve into interpersonal and international conflicts.
As I touched upon in The Decline of America Part I: What Consumes the Consumers?, humans have a natural desire to be in progression, to do more with less.
But once the progression reaches and passes the level of "enough," the utility of these physical items begins to diminish. In different words, needs shift to wants; more is not needed to fulfill basic needs although more is still desired; the progression continues but silently evolves into regression; it is the diminishing marginal utility of wealth.
Rather than say we consume ourselves, it may be a more accurate statement to say that the outer world that mankind has created tends to regress rather than progress at some point. To be prudent, we may assume this point of regression has ocurred or is ocurring now. A prime example is at the center of the time in which we now live, The Information Age. Consider this quote, which I have referenced several times here on TFP:
"... in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it." ~ Herbert Simon
Our outer-world progression is evolving into an inner-world regression; civilization is at the point where more begins to turn into less. As Jiddu Krishnamurti described in the 1970's, at the same time Herbert Simon was making his points about information consumption and bounded rationality, we have entered a crisis in consciousness.
As the outer world is mastered the inner world fails. When it is no longer necessary to search for, find and consume one's own information, it is the information (and the technology that produces it) that consumes the attention of the individual; and because one's attention is the essence of one's mind and the mind is the gateway to spirit and authenticity, the individual'ls mind is thus consumed and spirit fades.
Individuals are what make up the social organism, the civilization. In metaphorical terms, the light, the essence, the authenticity of the individual fades without attention, without awareness; and thus the light of the world fades.
"What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you. You are always a slave to what you are not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. It’s there, but you’re not affected by it. You’re not controlled by it; you’re not enslaved by it." ~ Anthony De Mello, Awareness
But these are not deterministic, pessimistic observations. And they are certainly not unique to America. It is simply the job of the philosopher to provoke critical thinking, to wake people up. Stay tuned...