The feast and famine cycle is a very powerful engine that drives growth and evolution. During times of feast, when resources are plentiful, individuals are free to play and experiment. Feasts are earmarked by great exploration and experimentation. Thus, in times of feast it is the strongest and most daring who prosper the most, and almost everyone succeeds. Famines however, are marked by people trying to make the best of what they already have. In times of famine, it is the stealthy and efficient who are the most effective. Survivors of famines are a humble lot who have learned that it is better to stay out of the limelight, and far away from any and all fights.
The most chaotic and telling period of evolution is the segue from feast to famine. When so many individuals who have become comfortable with the behaviors that are tolerated in a lush environment, try to make those same behaviors work in a weak and failing environment.
As an example, the Romans usurped Judea at about 63 BC, but the Jews didn’t really begin rebelling until after the start of the new era (AD). Why the wait? Well, because the Romans brought a feast with them. They built aqueducts, and road, and walls, hired many people to build these things, had soldiers to protect workers and cut back on crime, and administrators to keep things in order. So, I have to believe that for the average Jew, times got quite a bit better when the Romans showed up… So much so, that they didn’t seem to mind all the cultural changes. (They even, like most people do when times get good, relaxed their religious observations.) But, those civil engineering project couldn’t last forever… and… well… the taxes stayed around as the income slowly disappeared. And, as is typical in the segue from feast to famine, most people looked to blame as a solution to their problems instead of making the shift in their own perspectives and behaviors. When times return to famine, the average person will return to religion, and this can be dangerous when mixed with blame. Religions (including atheism and capitalism) will get distorted to accommodate the blame and frustration. (Then some poor fella gets himself crucified trying to tell everyone that there is no one to blame and the best thing to do is see things with an open mind and open heart.)
Here in America, since WWII, we have been experiencing an economic boom that has made us all look the other way to the bad things we knew were happening in our name and on our land. People cared, but no one lifted a finger because we were all getting paychecks and having a great time. Unfortunately, nothing can last forever (it seems that about 75 years is the norm with such economic booms), and as we all know, the taxes are staying as the jobs and wages are slowly going away. Corporations are to America what Rome was to Judea. We are seeing more and more bluster as people use the loud arrogance of strength to confront the subtle problems of famine. We also see more and more people returning to one religion or another (including atheism and capitalism), and adapting it to fit their frustration and blame. This will only make the famine worse.
There is no one to blame for where we are today… it is nothing more than what it is. At very least we are all to blame for enjoying ourselves too much during the feast. Well, here comes the hangover, and the best way to deal with famine is shifting our perspective to quiet humility in the pursuit of efficiency… with open eyes, an open mind, and an open heart.