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We are living in the epoch of fascism, where a combination of extreme capitalist greed, technical-accelerated flow of (mis)information and technical advancement is reducing the capability (or willingness) of mankind to apply individual cognitive thought and act on it. Over time, this inability has moved up from the individual into institutions and finally nations, resulting in the overwhelming angst caused by the world seemingly lurching from crisis to crisis. 

Humanity needs to acknowledge that we have reached the point where there is no way to survive any stressor or crisis without having any understanding of its mechanics and history. The basis of understanding the world’s situation today lies in two basic concepts of thermodynamics; Enthalpy and Entropy. The best non-technical description of enthalpy is the “tidiness” or “order” within a system where the different components are separated, creating a store of energy. This is like a fully charged battery, where the positive and negative charges are separated. When the poles are joined, electrons flow from the negative to the positive pole, releasing electrical energy that we can apply to various uses. This continues until the battery is neutral (spent), meaning there is no more separation of charges. The battery is now in a state of entropy (disorder) and there is no energy left in the system. In our wisdom (or lack thereof), mankind has over the centuries contrived through war, conquest, slavery, colonialism, etc., to create a level of “entropy” around the world. This entropy has manifested on the ground by the imposition of exogenous political views, religions, economic systems and cultures on peoples the protagonists see as “inferior” to themselves.

We have a situation where nations have sought to (and in many instances succeeded) impose their norms on other peoples. There have been some undeniable benefits of this “entropy” over the centuries. These positives include the sharing of ideas, education and trade through common languages, and gene flow that has improved the health and hybrid vigour in human populations. 

The negatives, however, have been significantly greater and more pervasive across the globe. These include colonialism, slavery, relentless exploitation, and the spread of diseases. These are what we know today as the unmistakeable fruits of imperialism, or the pursuit thereof. As industrialisation and the “industrial mentality” expanded across the world, these fruits grew to include the unsustainable ex situ overexploitation of resources, which continues to the present day. These were all very harmful to societies at the time, but the broadest and longest-lasting impact has been the violent imposition of belief systems (political, religious and social). 

In order to fully understand where we are today, we need to calibrate or measure these thermodynamic concepts in terms of the human condition. In its simplest form, the social human analogue of enthalpy is diversity. Biological, intellectual, socio-political, and cultural. This diversity needs to spread into what people actually do, i.e. their livelihoods, activities, education, production methods and consumption patterns, which also include dietary choices. The world has now reached a point in human history where we are having to deal with something that is euphemistically referred to as the “world order”, different sets of ideas and actions that are based solely on the masses of people who subscribe to them, not on any ideology that can be questioned, studied or changed as needed. Qualitative ideologies (good or bad) that emanate from analytical thought are subject to analysis, modification or correction, because they have starting points, usually in the form of a person (or people) responsible for their conception. This “conscious origin” also provides for “tempering” of ideologies because there are human parties who feel responsible for the success, or accountable for the failure thereof. The numbers-driven ideas are untrammelled by such logic because they hold nobody accountable, and cultivate a false feeling of “safety in numbers”.

The most notable instances of this malaise that has gripped the world in recent years have occurred in the sectors of health, politics and environment. Firstly, there was the COVID-19 pandemic – certainly not the first global health crisis in history, but the fist where all official actions by authorities were advised by panic, resulting in various forms of socially unsustainable violence. These actions ranged from imprisonment to enforced quarantine and shootings. History has shown that whenever societies were faced with health threats, governments sought to manage the crises through reassurance. Where errors occurred, they were usually on the side of downplaying the gravity of the situation. Global “mantras” appeared and spread with bewildering speed, including “stay home”, “stay safe” and “trust the science”, even though scientific logic wasn’t evident in the closure of international and intra-country land borders, which in reality are imaginary lines. Soon, virtually all travel was halted across the world – at colossal financial and social costs – yet the virus had been reported in every country. Eventually, vaccines were developed that didn’t prevent the disease, but were nevertheless forced upon the population by whatever means the authorities deemed necessary. 

Over a year after the pandemic “ended”, its political fallout is yet to be completely understood, as is the role of billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates, who was suddenly at the centre of health policy discussions all over the world. Government actions in the UK during the pandemic ended the premiership of Boris Johnson and are still subject to a formal enquiry. 

Another example of global quantitative thinking going awry is the politics around climate change. We as humans have come to accept the myth of something called “net-zero” or “carbon neutrality”. This ludicrous idea that the application of financial instruments can miraculously negate the second law of thermodynamics is a lie. However, because powerful governments, global bodies, celebrities, royalty, so-called scientists (who know better) are promoting it, traction is achieved through sheer force of numbers. We now have fossil fuelled tractors cultivating oil crops, petroleum-fuelled machinery destroying forests to mine rare earth metals to manufacture rechargeable batteries that are charged using coal-powered electricity, etc. The list is endless.

Other than the unwillingness of the masses to think for themselves, the digital world has also been a key ingredient in the poison killing qualitative philosophical thought around the world. The role of mass media (particularly the global outlets) has been poisoned by quantitative thinking, and moved from the need to present news into the realm of presenting narratives. The need to have more viewers has superseded the effort to gather and broadcast credible information, thus transferring power from media houses’ resources to the preferences of (largely ignorant) audiences, as quantitatively indicated by ratings, social media following, or politics. By this calculation, therefore, if there is an important occurrence on the ground or an issue at hand, media makes broadcast judgement based on the size of the audience that may want to hear it and from which perspective. The importance of the occurrence itself is relegated almost to the point of complete irrelevance. The room for development and dissemination of divergent opinions is thus irretrievably lost, and “the mob” rules. 

This ludicrous idea that the application of financial instruments can miraculously negate the second law of thermodynamics is a lie.

This is the mechanism by which even proud nations have contrived to democratically elect leaders who are bereft of any ideas, good or bad. It’s the ultimate irony that these populists are so attractive to the masses simply because they offer an alternative void to that which already exists. This is the very reason why the crises they foment seem so intractable. It’s simply because they weren’t founded on any ideological basis that can be reversed or otherwise modified. If the masses embraced qualitative thought, then the “truths” delivered by these populists wouldn’t be so attractive as to command the almost unequivocal personal support as they currently do. It is a frightening void, and lends credence to the (seemingly draconian) policing of online paces that we see in some countries around the world.

We have developed powerful tools that can impose ideas widely in real time, just as the ideas that shaped our world today are crumbling. We continue to invest untold resources in developing these even further, thinking that engineering solutions like artificial intelligence can cover the void occasioned by human indolence, even though it may do the exact opposite. The crisis we currently find ourselves in is that we have failed to apply our technical prowess to better achieve our philosophical goals. Instead, we are trying to use it as a substitute for philosophical growth. In this particular epoch, instead of the world using digital pathways to exchange diverse ideas in real time to create robust solutions to current issues, we are using them to impose the failing ideas on those who have workable ones.  

It’s the ultimate irony that these populists are so attractive to the masses simply because they offer an alternative void to that which already exists.

The only long-term solution is that we must recover our diversity and individuality. This approach has to be cultivated by individuals, then sequentially grown into societies and nations. In order to achieve this, however, we must unlearn globalism, and quantitative thinking. This, simply put, is the idea that something is appropriate for us because of the number of people who subscribe to it, the origin of the people proposing it, or the race of the people proposing it. This is the only explanation for the numerous actions we have seen around the world that seem to fly in the face of our claims to be civilised, not to mention the extraordinary levels of control that social media companies are beginning to exert over public discourse. Symptoms of this problem in recent history include the ecofascism and human rights violations being driven by the global climate movement, the hysteria that advised state reactions to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and the denial of history that has enforced global silence over Israel’s occupation and war against Palestine. 

In every instance, societies across the globe have developed universally vilified labels that are applied to silence those engaging in any philosophical discussions that may threaten the quantitative “monster”. These include “climate denier”, “anti-semite”, or “anti-vaxxer”. These are political “tar and feather” labels that only have ad hominem application, and don’t refer to the issue at hand. Capitalism’s role in global strife today cannot be overstated because the weight of oppression as a result of globalism invariably falls on the “poor”. Poverty here refers to cash poverty, which often coexists with proximity to great natural resource wealth. If we cultivated true diversity of philosophy and the human condition with the same alacrity we apply the “biodiversity” mantra, we might achieve our goals, because they occur in the same spaces. However, this requires a level of civilisation that is increasingly difficult to come by in an increasingly westernised, and capitalist world.