The End of History or The End of a Bananas Way Of Thinking?
When Francis Fukuyama declared the end of history of history in 1989, he was wrong in two ways. 1) That authoritarian forms of government were in retreat. They are not. 2) That capitalism was the economic apex and the endpoint of human social organization. Also false.
The results of relating to the natural world and to other humans as objects to be exploited and not as subjects to be listened to — this could be considered the creed of capitalism* and, certainly, of the United States — are now on full and tragic display on a daily basis. Want to hike the Italian Alps? A climate-collapse loosened glacier may overtake and bury you. Want to watch your daughter or son crash the cymbals in the marching band in the Independence Day parade? You are now risking your own and your children’s lives.
Indigenous ways of thinking that reject the separation of humans & nature and that reject human exploitation were arrogantly considered to be anachronistic. They are now being re-encountered by more and more people every day. I am a case in point. I was raised to view the world as a gigantic grocery store and warehouse and to think very little about where the items I consume come from and where their packaging or exhaust goes. Gradually, through reading, firsthand observation, extreme anguish and experiencing my own internal collapse, I realized: We’ve hit the wall and the wall is overshoot. And what has propelled us into the wall — this final, existence-threatening wall — is the taker, exploiter mentality.
Native American scholar Sam Rushworth states the human purpose is to live as stewards of the land and as stewards of the future to pass on to the coming generations. How different this way of thinking is from the capitalist-industrialist credo championed by Fukuyama! And yet it is *this* indigenous way of thinking and living that is re-encountered and slowly, painfully re-learned by more humans each day, person by person.
*When I say “capitalism,” I also include authoritarian state capitalism as seen in the Soviet Union and in China: the means of production maintained by an elite class and the non-human world viewed as an alien reservoir to be industrialized and sacrificed for humans.