I’m no big fan anymore of Umair Haque’s doomsaying; not because he’s inaccurate—he’s been consistently more accurate than almost anyone else—but because predicting a worse future than the present is easy. Decay is the natural progression of the universe. It takes hope and imagination to envision a brighter future, and courage to believe in it—none of which are found much when studying decay.

But his piece America Is Dying is an important read, because this is Americans’ last chance to save the democracy they know.

If you’re “tired of the alarmism” maybe consider that some of us have been predicting this American collapse for as much as six years now, and we’re the people who have been proven right for six years—not you.

I’d like to highlight three key paragraphs from Haque’s piece before my closing thought on this piece:

“There is a crucial lesson there. America already has an ISIS, a Taliban, an SS waiting to be born. A group of young men willing to do violence at the drop of a hat, because they’ve been brainwashed into hating. The demagogue has blamed hated minorities and advocates of democracy and peace for those young men’s stunted life chances, and they believe him.”

“The only people who … still dismiss these comparisons as alarmist are the ones who have never experienced authoritarianism. Those of us who have? We know that abductions by paramilitaries in unmarked cars at the whim of a tyrant are really, really bad.

Why? They point to the complete breakdown of the rule of law.”

“There are always some significant number of people who respond to violence, brutality, hate. Unless they are reminded, sternly, forcefully, that there is something better. That this is not who we must be. That this is the wrong path.

(emphasis mine)

I won’t remind anyone by force that there is something better, because what’s better than all the authoritarianism and fascism and violence is specifically not relying on force.

The only way to live in harmony is through consent, definitionally. You cannot live in balance and agreement with others when you violate their consent.

Living in harmony is not a pipe dream or some “utopian ideal.” It’s real, it’s doable, and it’s wonderful. And it’s accessible to you, too.

I have lived in a rudimentary form of a Harmony for the past 2.5 years, and it is been an incredibly beautiful experience full of love, support, peace, and ecstatic joy.

America, you could have that too, every day for the rest of your life. But you’ll need to start accepting the reality of what’s happening for what it is:

The death of all you thought you were as a nation.

Fortunately, ego death is the first step in your apocalypse—the original meaning of which is not some catastrophic destruction of the planet, but revelation.

The revelations that give birth to a new you. A transformation of consciousness and ego:

The false/small ego self defends itself. Rigid grasping at a particular identity is part of ego striving, leading to brittleness that results in harm to self or others.

Be aware, though, that transformation is a vulnerable and challenging experience:

Transformation destabilizes the false self, a true midlife crisis. But it takes suffering to let go of the ego, the self that has been built up to succeed in life thus far.

A caterpillar first dissolves into a sticky mess of goo before becoming a beautiful butterfly.

Just Say When, America, and you will fly.

After reading Haque’s piece and mine, I recommend listening to a little (Steven Universe) playlist I put together for America’s Ego Death, available to listen on Spotify and to listen on Apple Music.

Photo credit: Thibault Penin