People used to talk about the elephant in the room, a metaphor for a topic of conversation so sensitive that everyone avoided it and talked about trivialities instead.
The metaphor works because you can easily visualize people discussing all sorts of little things and ignoring the big one because this is default human behavior.
If you take over a business, military group, church, or friend group, you do well to start out by elephant hunting. For the venture to be underperforming, there must be an elephant or something of which everyone is in denial.
In a business, it is usually the competition, a failing of the product, or shortcoming of the supply chain. In any group it can be toxic personalities or a situation where all of the talented people have moved on.
The elephant in the room for us in the West is civilizational failure. Our civilization failed when it adopted a pathology of individualism, manifesting in egalitarianism including democracy.
Its failure was evident by the time of WW1, at which point it became clear that we had gone insane because we were pursuing insane goals which are paradoxical to how reality works in terms of cycles, patterns and other intangible structures.
We need to talk about civilizational failure, how to reverse it, and how to avoid it happening again.
Everything else is distraction. As the author of a philosophy called Parallelism, I am duty-bound to point out that our personal failings parallel the failings of our civilization.
Nearly everyone in the West has gone insane at this point, and almost everything accepted as “fact” or “good” is in fact illusion. N.B.: the rest of the world is less competent and more insane, but that actually has no bearing on our future.
Things seem bleak right now, but this too is illusion.
We have been in denial of the elephant in the room (EITR) for centuries if not longer. Our civilization succeeded, and so we lost a sense of goal, at which point the cannot-do people replaced the can-do ones by appealing to group fear of personal insufficiency.
Socializing and social status replaced function. Popular illusion replaced a drive toward reality and excellence within it (arete). Egotism replaced pride in doing good and being part of a tribe.
We have been in denial for centuries. Now the denial is ending. Yes, it will hurt for some time, but once we are past the hurdle of our own illusion, we will have a great opportunity to do much better.