Monday, January 16, 2017

The Fifth Beginning

Is anyone interested in participating in an online book club with me? I'm currently reading The Fifth Beginning by Robert L. Kelly. It's an incredibly intriguing book, and I'd love to discuss it.

With that in mind, I'm going to go ahead and post some of my thoughts from the first chapter, The End of the World as We Know It. (Quotes/notes from the book are in italics. My thoughts are in normal font.)

There is reason to hope. If something can't go on forever, it won't.

This thought got me through the delivery of two of my children. It can't last forever. But, I mostly think in this way in terms of short lived experiences, usually physically painful ones. What would it mean to realize this about everything? How would it change the way we approach each day if we think this way. This applies to both good and bad, large and small.

"In trying to be one thing, organisms reach a tipping point and become something completely different. This is what evolutionary theorists label emergent phenomena." Kelly believes that in addition to the power of competition, altruism and cooperation are essential components of evolution. He believes that the evolutionary process may, in fact, cause a restructuring of society in general to be one based more on cooperation than on competition.

I have recently been thinking about our social structure, specifically in the US, but also the broader world. When, I wonder, do we stop forcing everyone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and start recognizing how important community is for everyone. We are a social species. We rely on each other for things that we can't or don't want to do, but also for emotional support. The idea that relying on someone else for something is a weakness is pervasive, but I do not consider it to be a true idea, or even a good one. Why must we be completely self reliant? Can anyone in actuality be completely self reliant? If you use the roads that the government creates and maintains, are you being self reliant? What about the fire department? At what point does the cooperation stop and the self sufficiency start? Why do we raise our families in isolation? Why do we no longer work as a community to raise our children, care for our sick and elderly, and provide for the common good?

At what point do we decide that it is important to have an educated people? Do we provide for the health and well being of our society as part of a greater cause because we want a healthy society? Or, do we continue to force people to provide for themselves, even when they are unable? At what point do we allow compassion to take at least equal place in ourselves with drive and passion?

These are some thoughts I've been having, and I'd love to talk about it.

A final quote:
Prehistory teaches us that humans excel at solving problems, that evolution has always been remaking us. Of course, as stockbrokers say, past performance is no guarantee of future results. We could indeed be headed to hell in a hand basket. But prehistory tells me that doesn't have to be the case; the future could be ours to make.


  1. I'm in! I haven't read that yet ... going to my library website now. :-)

  2. Also, based on the title and what you wrote here, I wondered if it was the same author who wrote The Fourth Turning, which I haven't actually read but have heard wonderful things about. (

  3. This sounds like a fascinating book! That is interesting that you just quoted, "If something can't go on forever, it won't." I just posted on Facebook to encourage people to enjoy relationships they have now, not assuming that they can tomorrow. Because you're right, it applies equally to the bad...and the good. We don't want it to, but it does.
    And your thoughts about community and self-reliance are very good. It's a crucial question. Where's the balance? Thanks for interesting posts as usual.


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