Guest Post: The Shape Of Things To Come

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Shape of Things To Come  

The Great Reset could take many forms. The only certain thing is that today's profound political disunity and our destabilizing financial Plutocracy will force a crisis.

Yesterday I laid out why the U.S. will inevitably experience The Great Reset. What comes after that systemic devolution/crisis is unknown, but we can speculate on the shape of things to come.

Though we cannot know the outcome, we can certainbly discern the outlines of the crisis itself. These destabilizing conditions will force a crisis at some point and will be resolved one way or another:

1. Profound political disunity. As I noted in Survival+, this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

Today we have several types of political disunity. Superficially, the two "political theater" wings of the Demopublicans stage a bitter partisan war over whose vision of the U.S. as a "Plutocracy, but with benefits" holds an increasingly enfeebled political power.

But this is all theater and artifice. Neither wing has any vision or values of substance; each slavshly serves their masters, the corporate cartels and financial Oligarchy, while feeding their vast constituencies in the Savior State great gobs of borrowed treasure to maintain the "Plutocracy, but with benefits."

The real disunity is between a doomed Status Quo and those willing to deal with reality. Right now those willing to deal with reality are few, but they have the distinct advantage of reality on their side, while the Status Quo has only propaganda, artifice, phony political theater and empty promises.

The disunity stems from the public's innate desire to hold onto the empty promises and cling to the hope offered by the Status Quo that these grandiose, impossible promises will be met, despite the abundant factual evidence to the contrary.

Every attempt to lead the public toward the realization that the present is unsustainable will be crushed by a frantic assault of the fiefdoms, cartels and players who will lose power and profits when the Status Quo crumbles under its own weight.

Promises always sound better than reality until a crisis punctures the promises. But the anger generated by this deflation of "too good to be true" promises threatens both rationality and stability.

2. A dearth of leadership. The weakness of what passes for "leadership" today is not just a matter of bad luck but of the corruption of politics to the point that it only attracts sycophants, moral midgets and sociopaths. It's easy to blame those attracted to the game for this, but the real cause is the American people, who reject honesty in favor of artifice and promises. The American public is child-like, self-centered, myopic, ill-informed and ultimately uncaring about anything but getting their share of the swag.

Thus anyone who promises that their share of the swag will remain untouched wins, and anyone who suggests the swag is unsustainable is rejected as "judgmental" or "negative." To the degree a nation gets the leadership it demands, then the U.S. is in trouble. We're now a nation of spoiled teens who get to elect their parents. No surprise, the 'rents who never enforce any rules, never challenge their own bosses (the kleptocrats) and who dole out the most allowance win every time.

Thus we get leaders who refuse to challenge the Financial Power Elites, cartels and fiefdoms because the Status Quo would devote all its stupendous wealth and influence to defeating a challenger, and we get leaders who refuse to be honest with the American people because that honesty is rejected as unwelcome.

Ideally, a leader persuades the public to grow up rather than pander to their basest desires, but such a leader would only have one term of office.

3. The unstable double-bind of rule by Financial Plutocracy. A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is "I, Me, Mine" greed fed by complicity/corruption, and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and corruptions are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming disability, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.

Meanwhile, the diverting of national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing, as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (TM, Federal Reserve, all rights reserved worldwide) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse.

The double-bind is two-fold: the Power Elites can't bear to part with any of their power or wealth, so their resistance guarantees systemic collapse. The political "leadership" cannot challenge the Power Elites' grip on the nation's throat because the entire Status Quo has been co-opted/sold out and is now wedded to the Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.

What this leads to is a Status Quo committed to a sinking ship. The very imbalances created by a Financial Elite and the enabling Central State Central Planning doom the system, but since everyone within the Status Quo depends on it for their own slice of wealth and power, then no one dares speak up in favor of reality. Complicity is the order of the day, but complicity can't stop the ship from sinking.

4. The political corruption of religion. Jesus did not say, "Go forth and lobby the Roman Senate, to make laws which impose your interpretations on others." Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36)

Although it is unpopular to say so, some aspects of religion in the U.S. have been corrupted by a desire for wealth and a focus on acquiring it, and by a desire for political power masquerading as morality.

Very few (I know of none) commentators, mainstream or independent, see the potential for a Great Awakening, a spiritual, non-denominational renewal of faith not as some political force in the greasy halls of power but as a motivator of personal responsibility and resolve. I may be alone in this, but American history is replete with examples not only of political upheaval but of broad-based spiritual renewals that reject the earthly excesses in favor of a renewed moral center.

Such movements need not be associated with any one religion or denomination; they tend to be cultural in nature, drawing inspiration from religious faith but extending beyond the confines of the church.

Complicity and dependence erode the soul; political or financial "fixes" alone can't fix the rot. In a fundamentally corrupt, complicit society, rules and laws are routinely evaded, bypassed, undermined or simply ignored. Making more rules fixes nothing if the rules are merely for show, or only for the bottom 99%.

The resolution of these brewing instabilities could be orderly or disorderly
. In an orderly scenario, a new Constitutional Convention is convened, and a leadership backed by an enlightened public hammers out a consensus to limit the political and financial dominance of Financial Power Elites and corporate cartels. The new consensus reorients the Central State to its original purpose of limiting predation of the citizenry by Elites and criminals, defending the nation and imposing the rule of law as defined by the Constitution. The Savior State would be dismantled in an orderly process.

In a disorderly resolution, the Status Quo and the public both refuse to deal with reality and instead cling to the Titanic, demanding magical solutions that will keep the doomed ship from sinking. There is no such magic, of course, and so the ship will go down, and disorder will reign.

It might take the shape of a financial crisis such as a devaluation or hyperinflation, or it might take a political crisis such as a "Quiet Coup" by Elites or an outbreak of resistance to the heavy-handed Central State.

At the outer boundaries of such disorder, then the nation could split apart, along the lines of the book The Nine Nations of North America, or into permutations of civil war as invisioned by author/blogger Chris Sullins in his novel series Operation SERF.

The salient feature of instability is its unpredictability. The longer the nation waits to deal with unwelcome realities, the greater the eventual destabilization. What happens as a result of that inevitable destabilization will be up to us.

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trampstamp's picture

Obama for President so we can fufill our philosophy... This time is different

wanklord's picture

Americans are a bunch of stupid animals easy to manipulate and subdue.The sooner the US economy collapses the better, so these brutes will finally learn NOT to live beyond their means.

DosZap's picture


While we  may deserve what we get because of the NWO crowd, and the plan to bring us to our knees(only because we allowed it).

You had best hope it doesn't, because wherever your ass is,it will be bad for you.Really bad.

mkkby's picture

Let's stop the hysterics.  Nothing terrible will happen.  We've had a slow decline for 20-30 years, and that will just continue.  We will get smaller and poorer as a society, slowly. 

As for the happy reset where we get a new gov that's "consumer friendly" -- don't make me laugh.  Who do you think would be at the constitutional convention, making the new rules?  That's right.  The same assholes who've built the system that benefits them now.  The elites have always set the rules throughout history.

Nathan Muir's picture

I respectfulyl disagree.  The build-up to collapse is long and slow, but there will be a straw that breaks this camels back.  And when she falls it will be hard and fast.  History assures such an outcome. 

eureka's picture

I believe you are correct - however, I also believe US citizens have an opportunity to rid themselves of the root cause of all US evils: The Illusion Of Supremacy.

That is to say: If a critical mass of US citizens boycott, and demand the complete dissolution of, all of the institutions of US Empire - then, and only the, US citizens may create for themselves and their offspring - a new republic, built on a renaisance of true creativity, productivity balanced with stewardship and concern for the whole of society, one nation, completely independent, with liberty, brotherhood & equality for all.

IF US citizens do NOT wake up and take these firm actions of moral and structural rebirth - they will fall victim to nothing but their own complacency, sloth and impotense - and THAT, is their own choice, AND FAULT, - not the elites'.

edotabin's picture

This pre-supposes that they realize it is an empire. Many believe that America spreads "democracy"  They don't realize how the power is derived or why "democracy" is spread.

Ok so we know it is an oil-based empire. Oil is in its final days. 10 years? 30?  I figure by then  technology will have replaced oil by 80-90%.

The key is to innovate and produce.

eureka's picture

EDOTABIN - RE:"pre-supposes that they realize it is an empire..." 

Of course. After 911 and 100s of books and films and a billion articles disclosing that the US IS an empire - is ignorance of that fact a valid excuse for any US citizen?

I agree with your key: innovate & produce - however, EMPIRE MUST BE DISMANTLED for that - and any other good to happen.

gall batter's picture

ignorance must be a valid excuse.  so many choose it.  

Founders Keeper's picture

[Americans are a bunch of stupid animals easy to manipulate and subdue....]---wanklord

wanklord, please don't ever change your moniker.

Josey Montana's picture

Never, ever, ever confuse "United States citizen" (let alone "resident alien" of the legal or illegal variety) with ...


Americans are Americans by virtue of blood.  US citizenship is an arbitrary legal technicality available for purchase at market rates.


Sign me,


eureka's picture

You must be kidding... "American by blood".... there is no such thing.

Oh regional Indian's picture

i suppose that would make Native Americans American TILL Plymouth Rock?


turbomango's picture

By Blood??  Pleeese. This article describes status quo. So, get real and move on.

turbomango's picture

Blood - a vampire's fav. slurp

Leopold B. Scotch's picture

"Democracy is the theory that the people deserve to get exactly what they want.... and good and hard!"

-- H.L. Mencken (paraphrased)

chumbawamba's picture

Oh, for fuck's sake.  Are you serious, Charles Hugh Smith?

Clif High wants his title back now.  What's with this wanton title plagiarism?

I am Chumbawamba.


I_ate_the_crow's picture any event they both borrowed it from HG Wells

GeneMarchbanks's picture


Anything with a Guest Post: you have to take with a grain of salt. They are all a side show. Generally I skip their articles in order to get to something actually relevant, namely Tyler Durden.

Rhodin's picture

How about an honest president?....for a change.

Robslob's picture

Enter G C W


Oh regional Indian's picture

Couple of more months for full take off Rob. Sure feels globally uncivil right now though eh? Heads up for the coming 4-5 weeks. Rough stuff ahead.


carbonmutant's picture

When the rate of change is so great that you can't tell what is going to happen next, you have a Singularity

cpnscarlet's picture just looks like one. Your control system simply doesn't have the bandwidth. Same lousy outcome anyway....

cougar_w's picture

The salient behavior of a singularity is that information does not pass through it whole. Not on the way in, and not on the way out. It is the meat grinder of culture. After the singularity, there is only sausauge. The last time the Western world went through one (470AD) we had 500 years of subsequent historical, intellectual and artistic darkness, followed hard by 500 years of religious wars and one could argue we did not even emerge fully until the 1500s, 1000 years after the fall of Rome.

People don't get it. They have no idea what it is that looms on this horizon. It is not loss of profits. It is the loss of 600 years of progress in the West.

Metropolis_Minx's picture

Wow... That's so Terence McKenna. Didn't think I'd see that on ZH.



Amish Hacker's picture

Agreed. For ZH-ers who aren't familiar with Terence McKenna, here is a link to his last interview:

Who else could explicate our current political/economic/social collapse by bringing in the I Ching, the DNA double helix, and the Mayan calendar? The interview is well worth listening to, but only with an open mind.

MachoMan's picture

This is the achilles heel of the boom/bust philosophy...  While we generally stairstep upwards, gaining knowledge, technology, etc., along the way, we sacrifice a bit of it during the bust and/or have a prolonged period without R & D and a detracted evolutionary rate...  However, also present is the risk of a larger bust, should the pump prime enough so to speak, whereby we give back centuries of knowledge and abilities and sail into the doldrums with little hope of recovery...  this risk is even larger as our technology grows and, with it, our world killing technologies...  whether they be super diseases, nuclear, oil wells, chemical agents, or the like...  these all create a residual burden that may not be met, depending on the circumstances.

I'm not saying its the wrong choice...  but I am saying that I think people often forget the risks associated with it. 

cougar_w's picture

The distopian novel I'm writing has similar ideas as a core premise:

It all slips away slowly through neglect and wishful thinking and we don't notice it is gone. And when we do finally notice, we're lost too much technology and resources to get it back, and then we lose hope and fall to despair. Only a later generation that knows neither perihelion nor agogee has the vigor to begin again.

The hopeful seed already contains the later death spiral.

eureka's picture

I would like to read your distopian novel! Any links to a site for its future release?

RE:" It all slips away slowly through neglect and wishful thinking and we don't notice it is gone."

I believe "it all slips away", because we are busy being hypnotized by US pop-culture, which is, in its own monochromatic, nationalist-supremacy and upward-social-mobility-motivational-garbage-spewing way - a metaphorical exercise in singularity: the absolute, anti-intellectual, roboticizing dummification of the masses into pseudo-individualist, ignorance based, competitive consumer behavior - a singular mass of proto nationalist hegemon consumer-bots - the precursor of nanobot infested android or cyborg based substrates for collectivized "citizen"-components of the US-Globa-Corpora subjects.

SO - I think you are wrong about one thing: Empire is NOT an equally viable political construct - rather, it IS evil, must be destroyed (because it equals the singularity you write against), and be replaced with a rebirth of true-and-thus-be-definition-social individuals - free and independent yet connected and caring with theor fellow man.


MachoMan's picture

The tightrope between individualism and collectivism has yet to be bested by man...  we simply have a choice...  boom and attempt to r & d past bacteria, virii, weather, and other things that seek our demise and hope that the bust is not too prolonged...  (ultimately hoping to get off this mudball before the sun burns out)...  OR...  twiddle our thumbs and become camel fuckers...  basically trodding along and hoping to develop some technology here or there...

While I hear other posters state that the boom/bust cycle is a social construct and only advocated by those with a battered wife's mentality, I fail to see a viable alternative proposed...

eureka's picture

COUGAR_W - I believe you make a very astute and essential point.

However, my question to you, and everyone else here, is:

Does that mean you believe in empire in general, and, at this time specifically - in US Empire, as a necessicity for the further evolution of human culture?

My stance, and claim, is the opposite: Empire is the root of all evil - because Empire is: hegemony, leverage, collectivism, resource extraction for centralized utilization and general control of all social and economic processes.

My solution is: enlightened, decentralized, hi-tech/balanced and maximum local self-sufficiency and local self-rule - with global exchange of KNOWLEDGE FIRST and MATERIALS & GOODS ONLY SECONDLY.


What say you - and all?

cougar_w's picture

Since you ask: Empire has nothing to do with it. An empire is simply a political construct, neither more nor less viable than any other construct. As such, empire does not survive the singularity any more than does literature or art. All similar constructs are rendered sausage.

The empire will fight to survive. It's blind stuggle is already part of the grinding machine that must devour all. As it thrashes and destroys, so it will be destroyed. These are human things and have no place in the larger universe.

Or at least that's how the unmaker explained it to me. But she's sort of a crazy bitch, so I don't know.

Manthong's picture

The destruction has been foreseen by The Annointed One.

tip e. canoe's picture

i wish he would hurry up and get on with it.   this chinese water torture is killing me.

eureka's picture

I understand your points. However, I believe there is a choice to be made:

A) submit to empire, cycles, singularity

B) resist and destroy them - and create a renaisance

Some Individuals, do manage to execute option B) - for themselves.

My question is, whether ANYONE here, believes that a critical mass of US citizens are capable of pulling and organizing together, to create a consciousness and structures that will enable and further the odds of renaisance rather than death and singularity.

I, for one, has not, and will never, concede an iota of my being, consciousness and will power to any empire - and, if not ALL discussion is in vain, I must therefore believe that I can align myself with other like-minded individuals and their "organizations" - to further what i believe is better than empire, death and singularity.

I am not a "relativist". I believe relativists express themselves only oxymoronically.

Josey Montana's picture

Institutions always fail.  Nations -- i.e., the DNA -- survive if they have the will to survive.  You represent millions of years of selective adaptation and breeding against every adversity permutation possible.  The only reason to die off now is because some genetic strand lost the will to live.

Let the losers die.  "We shall have fewer Americans but better Americans" to borrow a phrase.

eureka's picture

A nation is NOT DNA - a nation is language, principles and culture.

Your concept of a DNA-nation is clanish/tribalist - and therefore the precise antithesis to the US founding ideal that "all men are created equal" and of the US ideal of meritocracy over inherited identity and status, as culturally structuring principles.

SecondComing's picture

A historical singularity like the one cited (so-called dark ages) does not hold a whit to a Singularity.  That's where all of the potential within the visible matter, visible energy, and information collapses at every single Cartesian coordinate simultaneously.  This the driving, or kinetic force for a macroevolutionary saltation.

That's what a-comin'.  Just sayin' in light of discussin' McKenna.

eureka's picture

SecondComing -

You are of course correct. Quite APROPOS of which, and of your name, I here remind everyone of our eternal and universal individual and group choice of every moment, between death/evil/empire/singularity/selfishness - VERSUS - life/good/love-of-mankind. 

IF we have the values of life - we must choose the actions of life, not empire.

carbonmutant's picture

 The debris of the current culture represents the foundation of the next.

cougar_w's picture


And sometimes debris is simply a mystery to a later generation, who lacking our motivations gape in wonder at our futility.

It is entirely possible that absolutely nothing we know today will be valued as knowledge in some distant tomorrow. Or perhaps not-so-distant. The explorations of continents, nuclear physics, anthropology, space exploration, medicine. They make sense to us now because we still cling to the context in which these things arose.

But the Newton of a future time might not think about gravity when watching an apple fall. Gravity and motion might have no significance at all in her world. A future Newton might see in the falling apple only art and life and write something brilliant about the transient nature of levity against gravity, and so become a great poet and the darling of her age.

Our triumphs over nature do not impress the stones of the earth, nor will they endure the erosion of forgetfulness

We built no pyramids and our schemes will not be remembered.

Mad Marv's picture

Yeah......I'm guessing zombie apocalypse followed by heavy handed police state followed by some ass kicking by those of us with fortitude & guns.

baby_BLYTHE's picture

the police state control grid is already well in place and has grown exponentially since 9/11

When the rioting starts in this country it is going to be an absolute bloodbath. The majority of military police in this country are hardened war veterans that served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Guarantee you they are licking their lips waiting to take down any opposition to their statist controllers .

The riot cops in Greece will look gentle by comparison

Forward History's picture

Yes, every U.S. soldier is a trained pack animal that will unflinchingly follow orders to gun down civilians. Are you familiar with Bastille Day?

Urban Redneck's picture

I think there are enough examples of military C&C breakdown during civil breakdown just in the past six months to thoroughly debunk that theory, and who knows what they put into history books about the French Revolution these days...