The other day I got in an interesting conversation. Basically, I said that the U.S. is in a ‘limbo’ stage. By this I meant that we are passing from one ‘era’ to another ‘era’ in which we do not know what it consists of nor what to expect. As a result, in this ‘limbo’ stage we feel a great sense of uncertainty of what’s ahead. We don’t know what to expect. Many times have I said that we are as if ‘stepping off the edge of a precipice into god-knows-what’.
I see representations of it all the time. Oddly, very few people I talk to seem aware of it. Sure, there’s some uncertainty but they talk as if nothing much is going on. This gives it this sense, at least to me, that it is primarily unconscious. That it to say, people aren’t all that aware of it, but it affects them all the same.
The previous ‘era’ – cold war era – has passed for the U.S. It has come and gone. In this era the U.S. created something comparable to a religion of its government and economy. But this religion was based, not on the truth of the government and economy, but because it was in competition with another government and economy – communism. This made it imperative for the U.S. to put its ’cause’ on a pedestal. This created in the U.S. what can be called a ‘cold war culture’, which justified itself, gave itself meaning, and a purpose in the world. When communism fell, in about 1990, this element of the ’cause’ – the fight with communism – upon which the ‘cold war culture’ was based, caused an undermining of the U.S. The cold war ideals, which people began to identify with the U.S., began to erode. It continues to fade as we move further away from the cold war.
For a brief moment, though, there seemed to be ‘something’ to bring back the ‘glory’ of the U.S.: terrorism. With the coming of terrorism the U.S., and much of the population, tried to turn the terrorists into another Soviet Union that was threatening their ‘precious democracy’. With this ‘great threat’ the base of ‘cold war culture’, for a brief time, seemed to of returned. But, unfortunately, it wore out and faded, as the terrorists were no Soviet Union nor were they threatening America’s ‘precious democracy’.
And so, passing further from the ‘cold war culture’ the U.S. finds itself without the ‘base’ of its former culture that justified itself and its causes. It finds itself without a ’cause’, without a ‘purpose’ and without a clear ‘ideal’. But this fall is even greater than that. Since a great deal of society was based on ‘cold war culture’, it’s fall is basically the ‘fall’ of American culture. We stand now without a ‘purpose’, a ’cause’, a ‘reason’, and without ‘ideals’. Not only that, we have become leaderless and without direction. There’s no one running the U.S., just committee’s, the mob, and various groups who argue over everything. There’s no one to make the final decisions. Without leadership and direction the U.S. stagnates and seems to be spinning its wheels.
And so here it sits . . .
It seems that the U.S. sits in ‘limbo’ waiting . . . and waiting . . . for something to give it purpose again, and direction. It seems the U.S. is starving for some new ideal. It’s waiting for a new leader. It’s waiting for some new direction.
. . . but nothing comes.
This leads to a sense of frustration and irritation that seems to be common nowadays.
The fact is that the ideal of the past aren’t working any more. Those ideals are of a culture long gone. But, the new generation hasn’t created any new ‘ideals’. So we have a choice: the dead ideals of the older generation or the new generation who haven’t created any ideals yet (as they are still waiting for it to come).
The current generations lack of an ‘ideal’ should not be confused with the previous generations lack of an ‘ideal’. The generations from the 60-80’s were in a whole other situation. Much of their lack of ‘ideals’ has to do with alienation and rebellion created after WWII. These qualities, it seems to me, seem lacking in a lot of the current generation. In fact, I get the impression that the current generations want some form of an ‘ideal’, at least deep down, but the problem is that it’s not coming. In effect, they are starving for it.
It seems though, that this ‘limbo’ state may be a sign of the times and may persist for some time (a lot longer than I originally thought). This is because, socially, we are not in a situation to allow for a generation to develop a new ‘ideal’ or ’cause’. Almost all that the new generation does is trying to repeat the previous generations actions, but in a different way. But what we need is a new ‘ideal’ to surpass the older ‘ideal’. The current generation seems incapable of that. There seem to be definite problems in achieving this in the younger generations:
- The current ‘mob’ society, with all the consumerism and instant communications, hinders the growth of any social ‘ideals’. Anything the ‘mob’ will likely do will be as some kind of trend or craze or frenzy. This is not conducive to a growing social ‘ideal’. In other words, with the ‘mob’ mentality there is too much of a slavish mentality with the younger generations. An ‘ideal’ is a product of people, human beings, not a slavish mentality.
- There are too many points of view which causes disagreements, arguments, and disillusionment.
- There is too much change which upset ideals, beliefs, attitudes, etc.
- There are also too many factors of this, that, and the other thing, in people’s lives which leave a continual sense of unrest.
- The failing of the previous culture and society has created an acceptance of a ‘broken culture’ where no one agree’s on anything. It seems so normal no one questions it.
- The younger generation have become less ‘social’ in actuality. As a result, because they are not social they cannot develop a ‘social ideal’.
- I also feel that many of the ideals of the former era are hindering any new growth. One of these is that everyone is ‘equal’ or the same, without social structure. The fact is that for an ‘ideal’ to develop people cannot be ‘equal’. For a social ‘ideal’ to be relevent it must be based on a living social structure, which means people can’t be ‘equal’.
In other words, I see that the modern world, with all its stuff, is actually preventing the development of a ‘society’ for an ‘ideal’ to grow in. To me, that means we are going to remain in a continual ‘limbo’ state, without a ’cause’, without a ‘purpose’, without leadership, and without direction.
This, I feel, may have devastating effects. This is because human society needs all these things. It needs a society with ‘ideals’, a ’cause’, a ‘purpose’, leadership, and direction. That is some of the qualities of a ‘healthy society’. As a result, their lack will lead to an ‘unhealthy’ and, probably, ‘unhuman’ society (which it sort of what it is already). This, over time, may lead to an erosion of the U.S. that may, perhaps, help bring it down, much like the Roman Empire.
And so I do not look at this ‘limbo’ phase lightly. To me, it is a sign of a potentially serious problem that may have drastic consequences for this country.