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Time Horizon
Part 1 of 2: Don Quotays and James Discuss the Path All Travel: 7/31/2023
© 2023 James LaFond
Time Horizon
E-mail, June 27 2023
“Perhaps Civilizations fail so rapidly, compared to tribal societies due to seasonal sub-annual thinking rather than generational supra annual thinking?"
James, you may be on to something significant here.
A psychologist discussed (on utoob) experiments to get high school students to create a five year plan for their lives.  They couldn't do it.  Not even the smart kids.  Intellectually, they just do not have that long an internal perspective.  The window they could handle was, as I recall, less than a year.  Having raised kids, I'd agree.
This could be a skill impacted by both intellectual capacity and life experience.
Today everyone has instant access to answers (if you know the right questions) and fresh fruits and veggies are available year round.  If you get cold or hot, adjust a setting.
Everyone is being conditioned to have a short attention span and a short time horizon.
Intentional or accidental, it's not a good thing.
FYI, this week is the first genuinely hot weather we've seen.
Don Quotays
Thanks for this thoughtful reference, Sir.
What follows is a meander, this man here, merely wondering without concluding.
My editor recently sent me a text concerning my lack of patience for medical care: “After we get your back fixed, my next mission is to relieve you of your negroid high time preference.”
“Cooorack!” sung the editorial cat-o’-nine-tails.
I have lived an unplanned life since my house was lost. At age 19 I signed a 30 year note on a row house in Baltimore City and began implementing a 30-year-plan to work in supermarkets, raise children and collect books. At age 50 I intended to cut back to part time and enjoy reading through the library of some 3,000 books, never figuring my body could handle laboring until age 62 and that on becoming homeless I had to chuck half the library and gift the other half. That long term plan went to hell when I was injured at 31, and within 5 years had lost the family car and the house under the mountain of medical debt and unpaid car laons, etc.
Since those events wrecked my spirit for carrying out an economic plan I have refused to plan more than to the next winter, as I get sick then. I plan my every year as my last since 2011. Oddly, my haphazard life has resulted in me going into semi retirement just before age 50 and my body failing to continue physical work at exactly age 60. Thus the Fates have granted such a parody of my 30-year plan, it having been centered on earning and maintaining a home, in which I am homeless and unable to even carry books with me as I hobble broken backed between two crutches.
I believe I can speak from the perspective of a brief, sub-annual time horizon. As soon as I emerge from my sick bed in late March, I plan the rest of the year until Winter. I cannot see, in my mind, any convincing vision of life after Winter Solstice.
The Chaldean, Babylonian, Hellenic and Roman civilizations were tightly regulated by orderly notions of Time. The latter two worldviews saw the world of the barbarian Scythians and Germans as lacking in forethought, filling the Romans with the confidence that they would defeat these folk in war. They won often, but it was the barbarians who prevailed. [0] There are older views of time held until the 20th century in tropical locations, where there are only two seasons, such as the Andaman Islanders telling the time of day by scents given off by plant life.
Zeus was named Time-holder as one of his most common titles, the other being Almighty. The Olympic agon held every 8 years and then every 4 years were an appeasement of Zeus Almighty, for the sins of men, made good by sacrifice, suffering and oaths. Zeus is a close analog to the Almighty God of the Old Testament, angry with how the men under his blessing conducted themselves upon the earth.
Note that Zeus came to power by imprisoning his father, Chronos: Time. He did this with the help of Prometheus [Forethought.] Prometheus then sins by enlightening mankind and imparting knowledge of the arts, and is chained at Zeus’ command to a mountain rock for 10,000 years, an eagle to come peck at his liver and keep him powerless.
Zeus was also subject to the Fates, Almighty only among the heavenly host and powerless to control the tides of Eternity. The key point where pagan and Christian disagree on the nature of the Almighty, is this, that what Aristotle named The “Unmoved Mover” or “Cause Uncaused” was one with Eternity. Ovid is unsure “whatever god” created earth. The Bible is sure.
In the ancient pagan view the Almighty lives outside of Time and is not subject to its strictures. However, he was fathered by Time, rebels and yet fears Time and his allies, and has no power over the Fates, which are eternal forces, that frustrate and doom both mortals and immortals. The fates have more power to effect Time than the gods. Prometheus warns that Zeus has only 10,000 years beyond the bondage of Time. [2]
I suspect that the tightly ordered mathematics of time used by civilizations for their agricultural planning and rites assigned to eternal forces, enabled them to scale up as a society, but also evolved into a brittle polity enchained to the short cycles of its own devise.
Hebrew and Aztec civilizations did have 51 year long cycles, and the Mayan cyclic reckoning went out to some 5,000 years. However, the nations that conquered these long cycle civilizations were Aryаn and wedded to long cycles of only 4 or 8 years. Ironically, the Aryаn barbarians who toppled Rome had a longer view, vested in a tribal identity that could endure defeat better than an economic civic entity.
The combination of the Aryаn barbarian conquest of Aryаn Roman civilization resulted in a median view, one that was powered only by a beating heart. Into the 19th Century, the Anglos marked time not just by the old agrarian year, but with a longer time, being the year of the reign of the monarch. This resulted in the Elizabethan, Victorian, Regency and Edwardian ages, as well as others. Germany attempted to bring back the long cycle in the 1930s, and paid for this affront to the God of Things, that is the consumptive golem called Western Civilization, with a firestorm, of the like that Apollo’s son visited upon the earth when attempting to take the reigns of the heavenly chariot of his sire.
I think the Anglo habit of looking at the reign of the current monarch as an age harnessed the psyche of the short cycle of month and year with the longer cyclic thinking of the nomadic Aryаns that toppled the annual civilizations during migratory crises. For the nomad is subject to dislocation based on long seasons, such as a solar minimum. This migratory thinking naturally transferred to seafaring nations.
The American break with monarchy and the institution of the Olympic cycle as a term of stewardship on earth, did result in a super-charged, short-term social machine perpetually geared with a sense of urgency well adapted to industrial scale.
However, this would result in the age of computation as emotive social thought, unfettering Prometheus from his rock. Giving every man in his hand all the oracles of the new age and taking the seasonal aspects of forethought away, placing each of us at the foot of every oracle of every god, advising us in a contrary well of babel, is mazing to our mind.
The ancients placed limited human interaction with suprahuman perspectives to certain days and places, very often a tree, such as the Oak of Dodona sacred to Zeus and the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Eden. Man’s fall from Eden, I suspect will be mirrored by our fall from action as we mew alone in our places with the oracle in the palm of our hand, a thing that offers as more confusion than any other single thing it contains.
As far as our current system of control, it has and will benefit by introducing increasingly short cycles. This is manifest in our most common cycle, the news cycle. News cycles our powered, not by thought, but by emotional offerings of truth. These truths are suggested as reasonable presentations of thought, but are actual emotional projection of doctrine, or anti-thought. This was initiated as the art of the Doctor in the Early Modern Period. The engine at the center of Postmodern Social Control is the emotive projection of news as rational truth. This enables systemic emotional control of between 50% and 95% of humanity. This system is one of true forethought, in which what will be believed by the demos tomorrow, was determined at a conclave of logicians yesterday, and projected by gaslight today. [2]
Has Prometheus been unchained?
Will Chronos rise?[3]
I will conclude this discussion in Meander: Rivers and Myth; Time Horizon Part 2.
0. early church fathers, such as Turtillian, maintained that shaving was an affront of man to God, which may reflect more ancient ideals of youth affecting hygiene being an afront to Time. Even Zeus, Timeholder, was depicted as bearded, not as a youthful Apollo.
-1. see Jeremy Rifkin’s, Time Wars, circa 1988, for a discussion of the concept of Time.
-3. According to the Poet of Beowulf, the rise of Christianity brought The Almighty into possession of the loom of fates, making God the fate weaver. In the Odyssey, Penelope plays this roll as a metaphor as her lost husband seeks home, suggesting that poem as tale of return to cyclic life from cataclysmic strife.
-4. The architects of modernity include among their numbers the following men who were deeply immersed in the occult: John Dee, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin.
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