Gotta like synchronicity
I've been reading a book called 'Jihad vs. McWorld' by Benjamin R. Barber, which is about how parochial
sub-national forces are eroding the power and meaning of nation-states
from below while trans-national homogenizing free-market forces are eroding them from above. I hope when I'm done to feel I have a clear enough grasp of it all to write a decent node about it.
I read a bit early this evening, then spent some time web surfing for news, checking on this mild storm bearing down on SoCal, and following rabbit-holes on e2. When the e2 server went down for a little while, I hopped over to wikipedia
to see what was on the home page, and the featured article was about the Old Swiss Confederacy. I know nothing of Switzerland, but have flown over it a few times and have been meaning to read a little about it since finishing The Magic Mountain
recently. So I gave the article the once-over, learning that there's more to the place than chocolate and skiing :) Particularly interesting was how the original 3 cantons
formed their loose alliance in the late 13th century and it evolved slowly, along with innovative social developments. Bumping into this kind of information is one of the key things that I love about the internet and the Information Age.
So what does this have to do with synchronicity?
A while ago I got in bed and resumed reading J vs. McW, and I'm toward the end, after all of the exposition detailing the how and what of jihad and McWorld, and how the top-down democratic structures slapped onto East Germany and Russia failed, and why. I'm to the part where Barber is discussing what needs to be done to keep Democracy and nation-states from becoming irrelevant, how to re-establish public ground for civic
activity by citizens, between the private realm and the corporate markets, where the people, not governments, not corporations, can have a voice in shaping global development. He mentions the American Articles of Confederation
as having some good ideas, but says the real model to follow is its predecessor - the Helvetic Confederation (!!) "that made the Swiss such an extraordinary example of democratic association long before parliamentary institutions elsewhere had found their way to genuine representative government." He asserts that such Confederalism
may offer a workable defense against national disintegration since it "offers a gradualist, voluntary, trust-building strategy of supranationality...(that is)... evolutionary in nature" and grows from what are initially loose ties.
It isn't like I was doing research into a subject and found the same topics in a couple of places at nearly the same time. This was quite random - anything could have been on the front of Wikipedia tonight. Sure, one could point out all of the other pages I saw tonight that didn't have relevance to anything, but that's just facile dismissal. This kind of thing just feels cool, and if it leads to a little fantasy of being in touch with the zeitgeist
, where's the harm?
I had a similar coincidence a couple of months ago, when I read This is the Way the World Ends
shortly after The Illuminatus! Trilogy
and realized that both of these shared not only apocalyptic
themes, but both prominently featured unlikely trips on unlikely submarines
. Just have to make sure I don't go off the deep end
and start looking