DEFINITION: MALTHUSIAN (adjective): of or relating to Malthus or to his theory that population tends to increase at a faster rate than its means of subsistence and that unless it is checked by moral restraint or disaster (such as disease, famine, war, etc.) widespread poverty and degradation inevitably result.
My personal favorite example of Malthusian theory is not a real world example, but rather is literary, and humorous, bordering on absurd. Shocker. This example comes from my favorite book of all time: The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess, who is marginally well known for other work, but most notably, A Clockwork Orange. I believe that on some level, A Clockwork Orange is a literary exploration into the concept of “small scale Malthusianism”, although I can never know for sure because Burgess had to go and die on me… or us I guess, and probably his family too but you know what I mean. In “The Wanting Seed”, Burgess tells a delightful tale of family betrayal and intrigue through the lens of a pair of English twin brothers. The narrative surrounding the brothers is secondary to the setting which also evolves. A dystopian and over populated England faces famine, and the entire government is essentially designed around population control and food distribution. Eventually, this model is revealed to be highly fascist… shocker… and crumbles upon itself, killing thousands of citizens in the process… War breaks out, so a new and improved model may replace the old one, which was over controlling and murderous, and would you believe it, even more thousands of people are killed in the process. After the war, however, is an era of peace, prosperity, safety, and freedom. Everything humans strive for, “abundance”, whatever that is, and an environment that is safe for raising children. But through the novel’s events, which I won’t spoil for anyone, we see the population begin increasing, and the cycle begins to repeat itself. An environment that is safe for children means, ostensibly, more children. What do more children lead to? More and more and more little ones until suddenly there are tens of billions of people on the earth and some of them, most of them, are not receiving or are unable to receive the resources that are necessary to assume the same circumstantial environments for properly raising children or experiencing an “abundant” lifestyle. The Malthusian Dilemma. Too many people want too much stuff, they get the stuff, but that leads to too many babies, more than there is stuff for. So what’s the point? What’s the solution? And I know you must be wondering this, because it is overly apparent that these themed issues still affect us, to this day, no, to this second. DISCIPLINE. The answer is uniform discipline. Unquestionable, indisputable, uniform, perfectly balanced with room for entropic variables, discipline. There needs to be an all encompassing moral, social, and legal framework that transcends cultural, religious, and all other boundaries that is focused on the ethics of avoiding greed and irresponsible procreation. Which sounds pretty fucking terrible if you ask me. I’d definitely rather just do whatever I please based solely on personal responsibility, emotions, and whims. I cannot be alone in this sentiment.
My main concern is that this sort of preventative framework does not exist on any collective or otherwise significant scale, and the few existing dogmas/doctrines that may lightly resemble or address Malthusian themes are considered unethical under the current and popular framework; Monotheistic Abrahamic religions, primarily Judiasm, Christianity, and Islam, as well as their respective schisms and other institutions that are based on Abrahamic principles. These institutions, generally speaking, do not appropriately address Malthusian concerns, and while the teachings of these religions do not discourage discipline, the overt and covert motives behind strict and arbitrary aspects of Abrahamic discipline were obviously not made with Malthusian relaities in mind. In fact, abundance of childbirth within the system of marriage is highly encouraged and is generally revered as a reward or blessing, and the opposite a curse or pox, at least within Abrahamic practices. From an astrological perspective, this makes a bit of sense, as far as the solar doctrines go, but it does nothing to address the problems that will inevitably arise from the success of the model, almost as if the model was designed to fail in this manner. I do not discount an honest lack of foresight, as it truly is disheartening to imagine that someone or some entity would design this system to fail, but personally, I do not think that is exactly the case. My first theory is that Malthusian concerns stem from the natural ebb and flow of order and chaos, which unfailingly prevails socially as well as environmentally, in its way, despite the constant and exponential efforts of dominion preservationists. My second theory is more of an extension of the first theory than a separate theory in itself. The patriarchal nature of a proper society as we understand it today, that being one which is generally ruled by dominion preservationist agendas is likely to, based on the overwhelming historical evidence, suppress females and general female influence (including astrological influence… Please ursa minor… with me here… not funny? sorry.), inevitably leading to sublimative manifestation of female agendas, which is arguably more powerful and influential than direct male domain agendas. I have explored these themes a bit in my Tarot and occult imagery research. The ages alternate between male and female centrism no other reason except that is their positioning and human designation. Ancient, pre neolithic humans likely had an easier time balancing female and male energies in an effective manner, most likely due to the egalitarian nature of early society, but the emergence and later reliance on civilized society did away with the earth mother as a primary deity (despite her undeniable omnipresence directly under their feet), and put male solar dominion preservation agendas in the driver’s seat indefinitely. This forced female manifestation agendas to take on a totally sublimative role, which initially takes the form of temples run by priestesses promoting uniform ethics and worship practices and then later the over zealous and highly pedagogical Piscean religions. Either way, you can recognize a female sublimation agenda by the necessary existence of bureaucracy and sycophants within the system, whether taking the form of pedagogical structures, glaring disparities in information access, or other such details or “design flaws”. As the moon reflects the sun, female sublimation efforts improve overtime to conceptually reflect the advances made by their male counterparts; efforts in the fields of dominion preservation. For the last rotation (Aries being the previous male age, and the current age, Pisces, being female), the sublimative manifestations of the female agendas have revealed themselves through the still popular, highly influential, and overall energetically oppressive monotheistic religions, primarily Christianity and Islam (as Judiasm is remnant of the age of Aries, and is NOT a Piscean religion, and therefore inherently opposes Piscean sublimation agendas. This is my theory as to why Judaism is both widely and violently scapegoated and oppressed, and why, despite its monotheistic dogmas, it is more inclined to encourage free thinking on a personal level within the doctrine and practice, at least when compared to the relative stricture of the later Abrahamic religions. This bit is, obviously, a simplification that is planned to be addressed in separate writings). Environmental Malthusian concerns shift with the passage of time and the overall chemical makeup of the earth. Social Malthusian concerns shift with the cycle of female/male zodiacal procession of the Earth’s astrology. The Malthusian concerns are always there, and all the same challenges are continually present, but the existence and growth of deeply seated, dual, gendered energetic assignments within human social and political structure, religion, and overall human mythos, pathos, and ethos directly affect the nature and themes of our collective creative and destructive social cycles, in most if not all aspects of life. Malthusian concerns also develop on the same exponential scale as the strength of dual energies as they are reflected astrologically. This means that the peaks of population and innovation as well as the troughs of degradation and disparity become larger/taller with each solar procession, similar to a snowball rolling down a snowy hillside, picking up speed and increasing in size as it goes. The “resources” referred to in the initial definition are not particularly limited to physical resources such as water or food. The capacity possessed by a given administration to properly govern and control large populations is just as important to prolonging the society as its access to food, water, and energy. Basically, if your government is intentionally built on balanced, flexible, and inclusive policy, it is more likely to withstand entropy, and is more likely to successfully adopt and popularize balanced population control which will allow it to remain relatively stable until faced with the reality of cataclysm. However, intense preoccupation with gendered duality and ego injection within the human collective paired with the entropic nature of the universe all but guarantees that balance will be difficult to achieve, and that any demonstrations of balance are likely coincidental rather than intentional. Without long term and disciplined efforts to maintain stability, populations will always inevitably outgrow the available resources, whether conceptual or physical, and the institutions charged with providing or rationing these resources will be overturned or otherwise destabilized.
S- Don’t you see what you’ve done? Empires have fallen!
M- That’s what empires DO!
So what have I done to circumvent the aching anxiety that I feel when I consider the theory of Malthus? The overall lack of sustainable social infrastructure, solar flares, the Cascadian megaquake and tsunamis, the Yellowstone super volcano… these don’t scare me. Thin the herd, that’s what I say. We could die any day. As much as humans have done to project their egos onto nature, and as undeniably effective as it has been thus far in advancing the human race to the apex, the trends of earth’s movement have the final say in all of it. Malthus’ theory is social, but the reality of population control goes far beyond scholarly analysis, political bodies, social or religious norms. One day the invisible singularity will be reached, and bada bing, bada boom. Just like that, the earth will crumble beneath us and cataclysm will prevail; the beautiful and inescapable reset button. The age of Aquarius approaches, and regardless of the catchy disco track and general indigo child sing-songy, LSD feel-goodery, the procession of the equinoxes calls for violent upheaval; belligerent change. People grow tired of the arbitrary nature of organized religion and existing structures daily. Weak minds cling to dogma and fail to let go, while greater, more courageous minds, let go and embrace the passivity of entropic voidness. The earth grows tired of human ego and its deadly dominion preservation at the same rate. The earth, a sycophantic female energy body, may not always rise up against tyranny on a whim, but time and chaos side with her; they are bound to do so. Piscean reality is a strange thing… even though humans are supposedly the smartest animals on earth, we are no longer wired to troubleshoot, and the instinct now is to grasp harder to preordained dogma rather than allowing personal experience to drive behavior. Piscean age individuals, when compared to individuals of other ages…myself included… are utterly enamored by their own ego avatars, which thrive parasitically under the current model. Decaying. People, believing that what they think truly makes a difference in a social sense, cling to their assigned extremes or otherwise embrace hedonism or apathy, violent social entropy follows, and then new, hopefully improved structures take their place. That’s how things tend to go, or how they’ve gone up until now. Every highly, retrospectively inevitable ice age, (or bout of climate change), whether caused by volcano ash or dust or lack of greenhouse gasses, the consequences on Earth usually result in a necessary change in atmospheric conditions and therefore a step up on the ladder of life; ice age, cyanobacteria. Ice age, predatory organisms to balance cyanobacteria. Ice age, the emergence of land plants, and so on and so forth most likely ad nauseam. One cycle needs to end before another can begin. It’s the nature of life and of the universe. Introducing intelligent life into the mix makes the continuation of these life sustaining cycles a more convoluted process, especially as the lifeforms grow in intellect and ability. No matter what is thrown at humanity, it is likely we will never be totally wiped out. Small hidden factions underground will make sure the genome isn’t lost completely. Will we prevail? Most likely not, that job belongs to the Earth. Will we survive? Perhaps. Just perhaps. That’s the best we can hope for, and an awful lot more than we deserve. Here’s the thing. No individual could ever successfully circumvent Malthusian trends and the inevitable threats that result. It’s more of a team sport, socially, and more of an inevitable existential reality on an environmental level. So what can you do? What can anyone do?
Focus on what you can control.
On a personal level, on an ego level, Malthusianism applies. It is my belief that a given ego will continually grow and project, up to a deadly fault, unless properly maintained and enriched. The collective ego of humanity (at least in the western hemisphere), has allowed this reality to come to pass, so, honestly, what can you do? Focus on what you can control. It is the responsibility of an individual to constantly check their ego, constructively or otherwise, and in the event these measures fail or are not done, entropy will inevitably step in to do the job. Entropy will impede on all of us at some point or other, and to some more often and potently than others. The higher they fly the harder they fall. We don’t have control over plate tectonics and, even though you drive a Prius and recycle, we don’t have control over global climate change. But you can make sure you’re not contributing to the mess of ego dissonance, for no reason other than it is all you may do to contribute to the cycles that have permitted you to come into being at all, rather than deny them and cause dissonance. You can honestly be yourself, balanced by the nature of life and its wiley cycles, rather than assigning your life and soul to arbitrary labels that someone else designed. If every individual lived as though their hearts and minds were free to interact purely with the social scape and landscape without the existence of ego dissonance, without the influence of another’s ego, or of agendas reflecting the ego of a powerful group or entity, it would theoretically and over time, solve Malthusian social concerns. Those who were meant to die will die and those who are meant to live will live; no one would have the right or ability to significantly control these variables except a given individual and the environment they live in, and perhaps the influence of trusted relatives or loved ones. My concern though, is how could anyone return to revere natural cycles when the world has changed in so many ways? A man cannot live without food, water, and energy, but gone are the days where one could independently harvest these things and maintain any modern standard of life; third parties, governments, companies and corporations control access to resources and opportunities alike. How can we allow live and let live, or live and let die principles to cleanse the human ethos and pathos when oppressive monotheism, war economics, and senseless greed have swarmed and blinded the top of and trickled down to poison the entire race? Every age, and each turn of the wheel is experimental. Life evolves fractally. This roundabout has been particularly interesting, incredibly educational, but the cycles must continue and must improve. We have attempted the model of occult pedagogical society, and we have seen the consequences: crippling reliance on illusion and polarity, as well as violent disparities in wealth, knowledge, and power which grow exponentially like cancer. The reality is that this particular experiment, this particular branch of human social strategy has shown its readiness to fail, and it has resulted to failure because the existing potential to improve has been recognized, and has, consciously or unconsciously, set its course toward a singularity that will allow the necessary purges and changes to take place. Apply fractal evolution to a personal level. Choose a goal. Do something, anything, in pursuit of that goal. Fail or fall short of the desired result. Take some time to understand how you can do it better. Do it again with the changed variable in place. Fail again. Understand again.
Do. Fail. Understand.
On an individual level, the more you intentionally repeat this cycle, the more your awareness increases. The more aware you are, the better your failure will become, and at some points it may even feel like victory. Completion and victory are fleeting moments to be savored, but the cycles of life do not end because you have achieved something and become comfortable. If you are highly aware, you can effectively field chaos when it approaches. If you are familiar with the cyclical nature of consequences and entropy because you have previously subjected yourself to small scale instances of these, you can recognize and adapt to larger scale instances when they inevitably arise. If these principles could be applied on a mass scale, it would alleviate the human race of its social Malthusian concerns. Perhaps, if this were possible in practice and not a complete pipe dream, future generations may one day experience something resembling utopian ideals.
That is of course, until cataclysm comes knocking on the door, disguised as an unassuming and reliably well meaning presence.