I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the 2023 Zenith of the “WE,” so today I’ll give you a recap.
The 3,000-year pendulum of Western Civilization* is energized by two good things that oppose each other:
Every 40-year “ME” cycle is driven by the hunger for individuality and freedom of expression.
Every 40-year “WE” cycle is driven by working together for the common good.
We begin each of these cycles with the best of intentions; but then we take that good thing too far – all the way to the zenith at one end of the pendulum’s arc – and then we begin to mourn what we left behind.
20 years up to the zenith, 20 years back down; then we begin our 20-year journey up to the opposite zenith; then 20 years back down to complete the 80-year roundtrip.
There are two reasons why so few people say, “Hey, I remember this!”
1. We don’t notice the truly important when we are distracted by the merely urgent.
2. The pendulum is in the same position – headed in the same direction – just once every 80 years. How often do you listen to a 90-year-old when they say, “Back when I was 10 years old…”
The 40-year “ME” cycle that began in 1963 was built on individuality and freedom of expression. That “ME” zenithed in 1983, then it slowly deflated until 2003. That’s when we began our current “WE” cycle. And like every “WE,” it began with the beautiful dream of working together for the common good.
As we reach the zenith of that “WE” – 2023 – we see the consequences of taking “working together for the common good” a little too far.
Okay, a lot too far.
Every zenith of a “WE” cycle is a time of intense opposition and strong beliefs. We feel that anyone who believes differently from us is stupid and evil and must be stopped at any cost.
1783 – The Revolutionary War ended on Sept. 3 with the Treaty of Paris. We spent the next 5 chaotic years writing and adopting – state by state – the Constitution.
1863 – The middle year of the U.S. Civil War. Lincoln was assassinated 2 years later. Chaos again.
1943 – The middle year of America’s involvement in WW II. Two years later we nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
2023 – (We shall see what we shall see.)
Religiosity is often intense at the Zenith of a “WE” cycle.
Disagreements often result from a lack of definitions of terms. For the purposes of this discussion, these will be the definitions of Faith, Religion, and Religiosity:
Faith is that in which you place your greatest confidence.
(Science? Politics? Deity?)
Religion is the formalizing of a code of orthodoxy around your Faith.
Religiosity is weaponized religion.
Every reader takes from a text what he brings to it.
“It is a short distance between believing you possess an error-free message from God and believing that you are an error-free messenger of God. The minute I believe I know the mind of God is the minute someone needs to tell me to sit down and breathe into a paper bag. As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God.”
– Barbara Brown Taylor
You can get ancient scriptures to confess to whatever you want if you torture them long enough.
“The history of the world shows that when you place an ego and a spiritual text (the Bible, Torah, Quran, Bhagavad Gita, etc.) in the same room, the text will always end up in a chokehold.”
– Michele Miller-Nelson
Every person deserves to be remembered for their finest moment. From what I know of Ernest Hemingway, I believe his finest moment may have been when he said:
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
We want everyone to know what we think, but we don’t really care to know what they think.
I believe our resistance to considering the perspectives of others is rooted in our need for identity reinforcement. I believe this is the driving force behind political parties, religious organizations, and affinity groups.
Look back and you’ll see that things have been getting increasingly nutty since about 2013. For the past 3,000 years of Western Civilization,* the ugliest 20 years in the 80-year roundtrip are the 10 years before – and the 10 years after – the zenith of a “WE.”
2023 is that zenith, the moment when the Pendulum reaches its full ascent and begins to decline. The problem is that it will take us 10 years to get back to the low-level nuttiness we endured in 2013.
The good news is that we are at the halfway point. Things will begin to slowly get better soon.
Roy H. Williams
* “How could Western Civilization be 3,000 years old,” you ask? Indy Beagle will answer your question, soothe your doubts, and make you laugh in the rabbit hole. He will also frighten you a tiny bit. Please accept my apologies in advance. That Beagle has a mind of his own.
After ten years of running her own business with a hit-and-miss method of recruiting staff, Andrea Hoffer decided there had to be a better way. So she developed a structured process for bringing on new employees. That method turned out to be so successful that she now runs an agency that helps companies identify, hire, and retain excellent employees. Listen in as she tells roving reporter Rotbart, “A-B-R, A-B-R, A-B-R” (Always Be Recruiting.)