The scientific community has recently begun to think hard about natural and technological existential risks to human beings: a wandering asteroid, an unfortunately timed gamma-ray burst, a warming planet. But we should also begin to think about the possibility of cultural apocalypse. The Egyptian case is instructive: an epoch of stunning continuity, followed by abrupt extinction. This is a decline and fall worth keeping in mind. We should be prepared for the possibility that humankind will one day have no memory of Milton, or for that matter Motown. Futurism could do with a dose of Egyptology.
Ferguson, in contrast to LA, is unfolding in a new period of crisis, in which the growth of wealth is taking place against an unparalleled decrease in the living standards of working people: stagnant and declining wages; casualized part time labor; deep and systemic slashes in public assistance; cuts to infrastructure, public health, education, and transportation; mass incarceration and criminalization of Black and Brown people. No longer is there a unity between, on the one hand, growing productivity yielding greater quantity of commodities and capital, and on the other hand, rising wages, paid by employers or administered by the State through publicly-funded schools, hospitals, transportation, and infrastructure. Now capitalists can only keep the profit rate from falling by refusing to reproduce working people, who have been forced to shoulder debt in order to survive. The specificity and the acuteness of this crisis upon Black workers sets up the particular context in which Darren Wilson, a cop, murdered Mike Brown, and a Black community fought back.
Skirmishes in the South China Sea lead to full-scale naval confrontation. Israel bombs Iran, setting off an escalation of violence across the Middle East. Nigeria crumbles as oil prices fall and radicals gain strength. Bloomberg News asked foreign policy analysts, military experts, economists and investors to identify the possible worst-case scenarios, based on current global conflicts, that concern them most heading into 2015.
Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann finds that social, bodily and cultural contexts shape and give meaning to spiritual experiences. Her research compares the religious experiences of Buddhists in Thailand and evangelical Christians in the United States.