Normally I allow celebrity culture to pretty much whistle past my ears, and when I see Rihanna or Beyonce yelling about freedom and self-empowerment in their nipple pasties while writhing about in their skimpy vajazzlement, I just think ”Yeah, yeah, girls, whatever…yawn,” and I carry on.
But. For some strange reason the sight of Kim Kardashian’s ginormous oily back-side presented everywhere like a brace of slicked-up bratwurst ripe for the barbeque, made me think for a moment about the fall of civilisations. I have nothing against bottoms, but something about the scenario just made me feel jaded.
Those who study these sorts of things can trace common traits in the fall of civilisation. A ‘been there done that’ kind of scenario….
”Civilisations are born stoic and die epicurean” ~ Will Durant
Edward Gibbon (1776) ~
“The five marks of the Roman decaying culture:
Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth;
Obsession with sex and perversions of sex;
Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original;
Widening disparity between very rich and very poor;
Increased demand to live off the state.”
Sir Alex Fraser Tyler: (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian ~
“ The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years.
These nations have progressed through this sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
3. from courage to liberty;
4. from liberty to abundance;
5. from abundance to selfishness;
6. from selfishness to complacency;
7. from complacency to apathy;
8. from apathy to dependence;
9. from dependency back again into bondage.”
John Glubb ~
”..Each (civilisation) seemed to last roughly 10 generations, or about 250 years. Glubb posits that each empire goes through six predictable phases, outburst/conquest, commerce, affluence, intellect, and finally decadence and fall. ”
”As Glubb explains, the heroes of an empire’s people change over time as their values do. Soldiers, builders, pioneers and explorers are admired in the initial stages of the empire life cycle. Then successful businessmen and entrepreneurs are esteemed during the ages of commerce and affluence.
During the last stages of decadence and decline, an empire’s people often think most highly of and imitate athletes, musicians and actors—despite how corrupt these celebrities’ private lives are.”
Pitirm Sorokin ~
”In the twentieth century the magnificent sensate house of Western man began to deteriorate rapidly and then to crumble. There was, among other things, a disintegration of its moral, legal, and other values which, from within, control and guide the behavior of individuals and groups. When human beings cease to be controlled by deeply interiorized religious, ethical, aesthetic and other values, individuals and groups become the victims of crude power and fraud as the supreme controlling forces of their behavior, relationship, and destiny.
In such circumstances, man turns into a human animal driven mainly by his biological urges, passions, and lust. Individual and collective unrestricted egotism flares up; a struggle for existence intensifies; might becomes right; and wars, bloody revolutions, crime, and other forms of interhuman strife and bestiality explode on an unprecedented scale. So it was in all great transitory periods.”
Arnold Toynbee ~
He argues that in this environment (the decay of a civilisation) , people resort to archaism (idealization of the past), futurism (idealization of the future), detachment (removal of oneself from the realities of a decaying world), and transcendence (meeting the challenges of the decaying civilization with new insight, as a Prophet). He argues that those who Transcend during a period of social decay give birth to a new Church with new and stronger spiritual insights, around which a subsequent civilization may begin to form after the old has died.
Jared Diamond ~
”,…why would people perceive problems but still not solve their own problems? A theme that emerges from Norse Greenland as well as from other places, is insulation of the decision-making elite from the consequences of their actions. That is to say, in societies where the elites do not suffer from the consequences of their decisions, but can insulate themselves, the elite are more likely to pursue their short-term interests, even though that may be bad for the long-term interests of the society, including the children of the elite themselves.”
Joseph Tainter ~
But on a positive note…….
”By becoming conscious of the paramount importance of the supraconscious and by earnest striving for its grace, we can activate its creative potential and its control over our conscious and unconscious forces. By all these means we can break the thick prison walls erected by prevalent pseudo-science around the supraconscious.” ~ Pitirim Sorokin