Worst Case Scenario:
Critical anchoring ideas may become dislodged from our shared worldviews causing disordered thinking and profound chaos
Just toying with some ideas. I am not trying to scare anyone. I merely suggest a level of preparedness for more to come. Maybe there is a solution if we admit the problem.
We live within a semantic web (web of related meanings) within our global culture where ideas (memes), true or not, can go viral very quickly and cause rapid cultural drift, perhaps at an exponential rate, without anyone comprehending either the causes or consequences. There is no single authority to correct our collective path.
This could lead to semantic entropy, the loss of shared meanings, which would preclude meaningful communications. A process of degeneration may not be reversible. Loss of trust, confusion, anxiety, frustration, anger, withdrawal, depression, and open conflict may persist and prevail.
Evolution did not anticipate civilization. A community of up to 300 people was our largest natural organization as we lived in our natural habitats. Our social brains may now be over-taxed. We have long forgotten what “normal” looks and feels like.
In recent decades we have discovered the physical remains of many lost and abandoned civilizations. The story of Babel was documented in ancient holy texts. Are we living in such times once again, but now on a global scale?
We shudder to think of the worst case scenario. What is the probability? What are the triggers to avoid? What are the preventative remedies? Do social scientists have strategic answers?
Rebirth of Civilization
Another scenario is that our global culture is actually self-organizing and self-regulating. That is, without our knowing or understanding, we are collectively about to develop some emergent properties in our civilization that are totally unlike anything we have seen before. After all, civilization is a living system with an intelligence of its own.
Well, we do live in unprecedented times. Anything is possible.