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Prospects of the Collapse of Civilization
#1
from the BBC

Future: Are we on the brink of civilizational collapse?

Great civilisations are not murdered. Instead, they take their own lives.



Quote:DEEP CIVILISATION
This article is part of a new BBC Future series about the long view of humanity, which aims to stand back from the daily news cycle and widen the lens of our current place in time. Modern society is suffering from “temporal exhaustion”, the sociologist Elise Boulding once said. “If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future,” she wrote.
That’s why the Deep Civilisation season will explore what really matters in the broader arc of human history and what it means for us and our descendants.

So concluded the historian Arnold Toynbee in his 12-volume magnum opus A Study of History. It was an exploration of the rise and fall of 28 different civilisations.

He was right in some respects: civilisations are often responsible for their own decline. However, their self-destruction is usually assisted.  
The Roman Empire, for example, was the victim of many ills including overexpansion, climatic change, environmental degradation and poor leadership. But it was also brought to its knees when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and the Vandals in 455.

...My comment (and all of them will be in blue): up to a few decades ago most of our potential learned Latin and with learning the language of Cicero, Cato, and Caesar those bright and privileged kids also learned how a mass society on a large scale could thoroughly fcuk up and take itself down. Such learning about the vulnerability of institutions that people take for granted was a powerful warning to future clergy, attorneys, and academics, something that one does not learn from a study of a language of similar complexity such as Russian, which has the bonus of some superb literature. Today's most promising youth no longer get that side effect of learning Latin. I will be bringing up Toynbee, whom I consider as relevant to modern Western civilization as to others of the past. The rot is setting in!)

Our deep past is marked by recurring failure. As part of my research at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, I am attempting to find out why collapse occurs through a historical autopsy. What can the rise and fall of historic civilisations tell us about our own? What are the forces that precipitate or delay a collapse? And do we see similar patterns today?

The first way to look at past civilisations is to compare their longevity. This can be difficult, because there is no strict definition of civilisation, nor an overarching database of their births and deaths.

In the graphic below, I have compared the lifespan of various civilisations, which I define as a society with agriculture, multiple cities, military dominance in its geographical region and a continuous political structure. Given this definition, all empires are civilisations, but not all civilisations are empires. The data is drawn from two studies on the growth and decline of empires (for 3000-600BC and 600BC-600), and an informal, crowd-sourced survey of ancient civilisations (which I have amended).

[Image: p0715m80.png]


Here is a list:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190218...s-compared

Comment: with the possible exception of the Byzantine civilization, none of those last beyond 1000 AD. Some last a long time (Three Kingdoms of Korea, 725 years and the Axumite Kingdom (in the southeastern Sahara (1000 years). The Qin dynasty lasts 14 years and the Third Dynasty of Ur at 46.

If a civilization is a dynasty or a continuing tradition of government, then the oldest existing civilization is the Hanoverian dynasty in the UK, the United States (so far one of the most impressive empires to have ever existed) is second at 242 and counting, and the Swiss Confederation now checks in at 203. The Orange dynasty is the same, but one must remember that four horrible years were occupation by the Demonic Reich (Nazi Germany) that itself is an attempt to establish a new civilization setting new (if monstrous) norms for its objectionable empire. Do the Swiss think that they have a civilization distinct from its neighbors? I doubt it.

The Hanoverian dynasty in Britain has just surpassed (at 305 years) the duration of the distinctive civilization of the Romanov Dynasty of Russia (303 years), and the United States of America will get there if it lasts deep into the next Fourth Turning that begins about 65 years from now. Much as I loathe Nazi Germany an ethical and intellectual sewer I recognize it as an effort to establish a new civilization built upon a  foundation of pseudoscience, terror, and slavery. I also recognize the Soviet Union lasting for 74 years -- which the Republics of India and Israel, which have their own distinctions (at 72 this year) already outlasting the first Bolshevist state. The longest-lasting Marxist states is that of the Kim Dynasty (surpassing the Soviet Union this year at 74) in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- which is a complete lie about itself as a description of its character. It is on the Korean Peninsula, so it gets that correct.

I see the Republics of Israel and India as more durable than many political entities that have existed.

The United States of America is one of the most impressive empires to have ever existed.

It also has one of the most durable political systems to have ever existed. Will it survive Donald Trump? Probably.

Collapse can be defined as a rapid and enduring loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services crumble and disorder ensues as government loses control of its monopoly on violence.

Virtually all past civilisations have faced this fate. Some recovered or transformed, such as the Chinese and Egyptian. Other collapses were permanent, as was the case of Easter Island. Sometimes the cities at the epicentre of collapse are revived, as was the case with Rome. In other cases, such as the Mayan ruins, they are left abandoned as a mausoleum for future tourists.

What can this tell us about the future of global modern civilisation? Are the lessons of agrarian empires applicable to our post-18th Century period of industrial capitalism?

Comment: I am not counting voluntary divestment of colonial empires as collapse.


I would argue that they are. Societies of the past and present are just complex systems composed of people and technology. The theory of “normal accidents” suggests that complex technological systems regularly give way to failure. So collapse may be a normal phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and stage.

We may be more technologically advanced now. But this gives little ground to believe that we are immune to the threats that undid our ancestors. Our newfound technological abilities even bring new, unprecedented challenges to the mix.
And while our scale may now be global, collapse appears to happen to both sprawling empires and fledgling kingdoms alike. There is no reason to believe that greater size is armour against societal dissolution. Our tightly-coupled, globalised economic system is, if anything, more likely to make crisis spread.

If the fate of previous civilisations can be a roadmap to our future, what does it say? One method is to examine the trends that preceded historic collapses and see how they are unfolding today.

While there is no single accepted theory for why collapses happen, historians, anthropologists and others have proposed various explanations.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190218...n-collapse
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#2
“If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future,” she wrote.

So if someone who isn't mentally out of breath and wrote a compelling story how the future could/would look like could save us?
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#3
The "civilizations" described in the article are in fact socio-political orders. They come and go, but Mankind endures. I see post-1945 West as, in many ways, a different socio-political system than either pre-Enlightenment Thomistic Christendom and high Industrial Age modernism. So, if the average lifespan of such an order is 336 years, the end of the current one should happen in late 23th century.

The basic principles of modernism were individualism and empiricism, resulting in rule of reason established as its core tenet. But the chemical attacks during WW1, and then the Holocaust and the murder of Hiroshima made many intellectuals question the value of rule of reason. Hence the Lost, and later the Boomers adopted a different set of tenets. The Lost were more driven to hard nihilism (fascism), while boomers tended to be attracted to soft nihilism (sex, drugs and rock'n'roll). In the boomer-led Anglosphere individualism went up to eleven, best expressed in Maslow's ethos of self-actualisation adopted by many post-1945 psychologists, and nature started to be viewed more favourably than the modernists ever did. Environmentalism, excessive appreciation of pre-modern cultures (think Avatar) and sexual revolution (think Sex in the City) are the most distinctive traits of this "New Americanism", and were exported all over the world.

Perhaps the last modernists were the neo-cons, other aspects of modernism are also present in the transhumanist movement which is for the time being NOT mainstream. Can modernism become fashionable again when boomers are gone? I suppose it could, "New Americanism" might turn out to be as short-lived as Bolshevism. Apollonian character of the upcoming cycle is a good prognosis for a revival of modernism, an improved form of it could come from China where Confucianism encourages more communitarian values. The Chinese already use the expression "white Leftism" for what I have called New Americanism. They are not attracted to it. But a Chinese-led renaissance will happen only if China starts democratising.

I'm not afraid of an actual apocalypse caused by global warming, but I do worry about out-of-control AIs and genetic engineering in hands of dictators. 1950s-style nuclear winter might be a possibility if a non-democracy uses nuclear weapons.
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#4
(03-04-2019, 06:58 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: The "civilizations" described in the article are in fact socio-political orders. They come and go, but Mankind endures. I see post-1945 West as, in many ways, a different socio-political system than either pre-Enlightenment Thomistic Christendom and high Industrial Age modernism. So, if the average lifespan of such an order is 336 years, the end of the current one should happen in late 23th century.

Duration of a civilization as a political entity is suspect. It may fit, as with the  Romanov dynasty in Russia (304 years), but as I suggested, nobody is going to consider Switzerland a civilization even if it has great durability. Switzerland looks like a political accident more than any design.

The strength of a civilization may be its ability to adapt to changes that come with time, including intellectual ferment. A very old city by American standards, like Boston, can be as modern as any city in America. But this said, part of the charm of Boston is its architectural archaism. A city like Dallas, basically "Bauhaus on the Prairie" seemed utterly lacking in charm when I lived there mostly in the 1980s.

So is a culture amenable to technological change, political challenges, and intellectual experimentation? The Soviet Union was a tired entity in the 1960s at the time in which the Beatles challenged the assumptions of bourgeois societies such as the UK and the United States. The UK and the United States are still around little the worse for wear, and the Soviet Union is gone with few remaining admirers. Putting the Soviet Union back together is about as likely as putting the Austro-Hungarian Empire back together in the aftermath of World War II.

If one is to bet on any political system lasting a thousand years, one of the best bets is clearly on the United States, and for reasons other than having a 171-year head start on so impressive an  entity in scale as the Republic of India. Were one to go in a time machine to New York City in 1789 one might recognize the street plan of lower Manhattan and perhaps Trinity Church (rebuilt in 1788 after a fire) -- but that would be about it. The ethnic mix would obviously be very different. Maybe the United States is not so much one fossilized entity as it is a series of new technological and intellectual orders.

Quote:The basic principles of modernism were individualism and empiricism, resulting in rule of reason established as its core tenet. But the chemical attacks during WW1, and then the Holocaust and the murder of Hiroshima made many intellectuals question the value of rule of reason. Hence the Lost, and later the Boomers adopted a different set of tenets. The Lost were more driven to hard nihilism (fascism), while boomers tended to be attracted to soft nihilism (sex, drugs and rock'n'roll). In the boomer-led Anglosphere individualism went up to eleven, best expressed in Maslow's ethos of self-actualisation adopted by many post-1945 psychologists, and nature started to be viewed more favourably than the modernists ever did. Environmentalism, excessive appreciation of pre-modern cultures (think Avatar) and sexual revolution (think Sex in the City) are the most distinctive traits of this "New Americanism", and were exported all over the world.

The gas warfare in World War I reflects the tendency of war-makers to intensify the lethality of warfare when victory is not at hand. The Holocaust has no rational defense; were people rational they would have never seen the Jews as a conspiratorial menace to gentiles as people on the intellectual fringe did in the 1920s only to achieve power in the aftermath of hurt feelings of a nation shamed in defeat and economically ravaged in hyperinflation that made savings meaningless and a horrible meltdown of the economy that took away such wealth as people created after the end of the Weimar hyperinflation. The detonation of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki reflect that the United States expected Japan to fight to the bitter end -- and I could make the case that a society that makes the Bataan Death March possible is making itself a target for the harshest judgment of its enemies.

The hard nihilism (fascism, but I could also add some references to some post-WWII Commie regimes in eastern Europe) failed in the end due to their economic and moral absurdity. The soft nihilism failed for different manifestations of economic and moral absurdity. One possible response to the soft nihilism of the Boom Awakening is to revert to the idea that nothing matters except class privilege, the profit motive for elites only, and promises of Pie in the Sky When You Die to people obliged to suffer with a smile for alleged betters like Donald Trump. But Trump seems to prove himself just an idol with clay feet.

Environmentalism? It used to be known as conservation. We need to preserve for ourselves and our progeny some connection with the natural world that at once elevates us and humbles us. The alternative is an unending expanse of urban sprawl  and industrial moonscapes.


Quote:Perhaps the last modernists were the neo-cons, other aspects of modernism are also present in the transhumanist movement which is for the time being NOT mainstream. Can modernism become fashionable again when boomers are gone? I suppose it could, "New Americanism" might turn out to be as short-lived as Bolshevism. Apollonian character of the upcoming cycle is a good prognosis for a revival of modernism, an improved form of it could come from China where Confucianism encourages more communitarian values. The Chinese already use the expression "white Leftism" for what I have called New Americanism. They are not attracted to it. But a Chinese-led renaissance will happen only if China starts democratising.

But the neo-cons had serious flaws, and freezing flaws into a system is one of the most effective ways to bring about its demise. The failed civilizations mostly rotted due to vile realities of their systems. Rot has an insidious way of hiding its presence until the very thing that it permeates dies or collapses before its time. If 'making America great again' means giving all economic power and moral authority to economic elites responsible only to themselves, then such implies the 'decline' phase of America.

Quote:I'm not afraid of an actual apocalypse caused by global warming, but I do worry about out-of-control AIs and genetic engineering in hands of dictators. 1950s-style nuclear winter might be a possibility if a non-democracy uses nuclear weapons.

I can imagine few trends more dangerous than global warming. The inundation of the world's greatest cities will be a cultural and likely a commercial calamity in  itself. Even worse will be the disappearance of much of the world's most productive farmland. Think of Bangladesh, to be sure a very poor country, but one that as it is produces much food. It's a country of peasant farmers who mostly have no other way of life readily available to them. That is one of the  most vulnerable countries. Where do the people go?

Inundation of property invalidates property rights as effectively as any Bolshevik commissar could dream of doing. Such will create legal anarchy that will rend such social order as there is. The easiest aspect of global warming to understand will be the inundation of lowlands. What is not so clear will  be how weather patterns change.

It is not clear that tropical zones will not get hotter. If they do, life will be harder for the heat alone. Warmer waters have less oxygen to support fish life. But will deserts appear where we now have marginal or even rich farming? Should the climate belts move poleward, then places that now have Mediterranean climate will get very dry. Can you imagine San Francisco getting less rain in a year than Phoenix gets now? If the winter rains that bring plant-fostering rain as far south as the mountains of northern Baja California retreat to about Eureka, then San Francisco could have some interesting ruins in what begins to resemble the Atacama Desert. The ruins of Lisbon, Madrid (not a Roman city),  Marseilles, Rome, Dubrovnik, Athens, and Istanbul could appear just above the shoreline, testaments to a modern world that no longer has its economic validity.

I saw one projection for Michigan that suggests that much of the state could enjoy a Mediterranean climate instead of its alternation between Russian winters and Dixie summers. Does that look like an improvement? Hardly. Sure, places like Muskegon and Traverse City would be pleasant due to mild winters and summers -- but note well that the rich agriculture of California depends heavily upon snowfalls in the Sierra that dams now impound in valleys in the Sierra. Michigan has no mountains for such purposes.  But that is only one projection. Another simply has the subtropical zone moving north  with the Cfa/Dfa divide in the Köppen climate classification between rainy winters and snowy winters that now divides the eastern United States roughly along Interstate 70 in Indiana and Ohio in turn to about the Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike, Interstate 94, Michigan 21 (which connects Grand Rapids and Flint), US 10, Michigan 72,  US 2, and finally Michigan 28 before the line crosses Lake Superior. A hint: Indiana and Ohio become cotton country, and alligators start devouring pet dogs and cats in Cincinnati and St. Louis. Tropical diseases also begin appearing in the American Southeast.

So -- does western Texas become simply hotter and drier or does a subtropical monsoon bring lush vegetation to places like Lubbock and Amarillo? Who knows?

AGW is a very bad gamble. We don't know the odds except to know that it is a losing proposition. I'd rather do casino gambling, which I recognize as a rip-off, then let AGW happen.

Societies under economic stress succumb to dictators. AGW is not part of this Crisis Era, but it could be the cornerstone of the Crisis of 2100. Just imagine leaders who have never talked to people who remember the  Second World War and see nothing wrong with killing millions in a nuclear exchange.

Artificial intelligence will create its own economic rules, for better or worse. Genetic engineering? There are plenty of hereditary diseases that I would love to see vanish.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#5
(03-04-2019, 10:03 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: I can imagine few trends more dangerous than global warming. The inundation of the world's greatest cities will be a cultural and likely a commercial calamity in  itself. Even worse will be the disappearance of much of the world's most productive farmland. Think of Bangladesh, to be sure a very poor country, but one that as it is produces much food. It's a country of peasant farmers who mostly have no other way of life readily available to them. That is one of the  most vulnerable countries. Where do the people go?

Inundation of property invalidates property rights as effectively as any Bolshevik commissar could dream of doing. Such will create legal anarchy that will rend such social order as there is. The easiest aspect of global warming to understand will be the inundation of lowlands. What is not so clear will  be how weather patterns change.

It is not clear that tropical zones will not get hotter. If they do, life will be harder for the heat alone. Warmer waters have less oxygen to support fish life. But will deserts appear where we now have marginal or even rich farming? Should the climate belts move poleward, then places that now have Mediterranean climate will get very dry. Can you imagine San Francisco getting less rain in a year than Phoenix gets now? If the winter rains that bring plant-fostering rain as far south as the mountains of northern Baja California retreat to about Eureka, then San Francisco could have some interesting ruins in what begins to resemble the Atacama Desert. The ruins of Lisbon, Madrid (not a Roman city),  Marseilles, Rome, Dubrovnik, Athens, and Istanbul could appear just above the shoreline, testaments to a modern world that no longer has its economic validity.

I saw one projection for Michigan that suggests that much of the state could enjoy a Mediterranean climate instead of its alternation between Russian winters and Dixie summers. Does that look like an improvement? Hardly. Sure, places like Muskegon and Traverse City would be pleasant due to mild winters and summers -- but note well that the rich agriculture of California depends heavily upon snowfalls in the Sierra that dams now impound in valleys in the Sierra. Michigan has no mountains for such purposes.  But that is only one projection. Another simply has the subtropical zone moving north  with the Cfa/Dfa divide in the Köppen climate classification between rainy winters and snowy winters that now divides the eastern United States roughly along Interstate 70 in Indiana and Ohio in turn to about the Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike, Interstate 94, Michigan 21 (which connects Grand Rapids and Flint), US 10, Michigan 72,  US 2, and finally Michigan 28 before the line crosses Lake Superior. A hint: Indiana and Ohio become cotton country, and alligators start devouring pet dogs and cats in Cincinnati and St. Louis. Tropical diseases also begin appearing in the American Southeast.

So -- does western Texas become simply hotter and drier or does a subtropical monsoon bring lush vegetation to places like Lubbock and Amarillo? Who knows?

AGW is a very bad gamble. We don't know the odds except to know that it is a losing proposition. I'd rather do casino gambling, which I recognize as a rip-off, then let AGW happen.

Societies under economic stress succumb to dictators. AGW is not part of this Crisis Era, but it could be the cornerstone of the Crisis of 2100. Just imagine leaders who have never talked to people who remember the  Second World War and see nothing wrong with killing millions in a nuclear exchange.

The environmental models talk about global temperatures rising by 2 or 3 degrees. Summer in England will be more pleasant, that's sure. Many areas of northern Canada or Scandinavia will be more habitable. For an Iraqi, does it really make a difference if it's 41 or 44 degrees in July? Of course, if the trend continues for a few centuries, it might indeed become really dangerous. But the Earth's oil deposits are finite, and without oil and other fossil fuels carbon dioxide emissions won't be as massive. I cannot imagine sea levels going up by 80 meters, it's make-believe like late 19th century horse poop apocalypse.

The best thing we have that could replace oil is nuclear power, and the Greens hate it too. If Western nations restrain themselves with environmental regulations, while China, India and Africa don't, then the economic leadership will belong to the latter.

Quote:The detonation of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki reflect that the United States expected Japan to fight to the bitter end -- and I could make the case that a society that makes the Bataan Death March possible is making itself a target for the harshest judgment of its enemies.

I've read somewhere that the Emperor wanted to negotiate an honourable act of surrender, and asked the Pope to mediate, but Truman decided to fight to bitter end because he wanted to humiliate Japan and spread achievements of the American Revolution there. He succeeded, but I still cannot approve of the nuclear attack. Looking from a long-term perspective, Japan is definitely a success story, the American political system blended well with the native community-oriented culture, and the economy boomed after men's energy was no longer directed to war. Although Japan is now somewhat culturally decadent.

The post-1945 world order can be characterized as bureaucratic internationalism (not cosmopolitanism). It was meant to make it impossible for a country gone mad to do what Germany did. But postwar tyrants learned how to make an impression that they play by the system's rules. Saddam was able to murder Kurds with chemical weapons, and the UN didn't do anything to stop him. Maybe because of postwar dogma that brown people are always victims?
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#6
One possibility is for a society to evolve into its own successor society. Toynbee regarded Babylonia to be a successor civilization to the Mesopotamian civilization. He also thought that two successor civilizations evolved out of the MesoAmerican civilization. Toynbee later changed his mind, coming to regard these example as late stages of the Mesopotamian and MesoAmerican civilizations respectively.

There has been discussion regarding the Byzantine Empire. I recall somebody stating that the Byzantine Empire was something new. I think that Byzantium might count as a true successor civilization. It was different enough from the old Classical civilization for this to be plausible, most especially because of Christianity.
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#7
As temperatures , especially wet-bulb, approach body-heat temperatures, every degree makes a difference. I recall this from living near Dallas; one could tolerate dry heat fairly well up to about 92F with a strong ceiling fan, but we turned on the air conditioner, typically on Memorial Day, as the daytime highs got to 95F.

....Sometimes I do a little thought experiment, and one is to imagine how archeologists of AD 2500 will see America. I expect them to look through junk heaps. Will they see suburban sprawl representing the abrupt end of a rural culture? Will they see one technology after another overpowering and destroying another (flat screen televisions replacing CRT televisions)?

Will they trust the writings of chronicles or will they assume the worst?
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#8
(03-04-2019, 06:58 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: The "civilizations" described in the article are in fact socio-political orders. They come and go, but Mankind endures. I see post-1945 West as, in many ways, a different socio-political system than either pre-Enlightenment Thomistic Christendom and high Industrial Age modernism. So, if the average lifespan of such an order is 336 years, the end of the current one should happen in late 23th century.

The basic principles of modernism were individualism and empiricism, resulting in rule of reason established as its core tenet. But the chemical attacks during WW1, and then the Holocaust and the murder of Hiroshima made many intellectuals question the value of rule of reason. Hence the Lost, and later the Boomers adopted a different set of tenets. The Lost were more driven to hard nihilism (fascism), while boomers tended to be attracted to soft nihilism (sex, drugs and rock'n'roll). In the boomer-led Anglosphere individualism went up to eleven, best expressed in Maslow's ethos of self-actualisation adopted by many post-1945 psychologists, and nature started to be viewed more favourably than the modernists ever did. Environmentalism, excessive appreciation of pre-modern cultures (think Avatar) and sexual revolution (think Sex in the City) are the most distinctive traits of this "New Americanism", and were exported all over the world.

Perhaps the last modernists were the neo-cons, other aspects of modernism are also present in the transhumanist movement which is for the time being NOT mainstream. Can modernism become fashionable again when boomers are gone? I suppose it could, "New Americanism" might turn out to be as short-lived as Bolshevism. Apollonian character of the upcoming cycle is a good prognosis for a revival of modernism, an improved form of it could come from China where Confucianism encourages more communitarian values. The Chinese already use the expression "white Leftism" for what I have called New Americanism. They are not attracted to it. But a Chinese-led renaissance will happen only if China starts democratising.

I'm not afraid of an actual apocalypse caused by global warming, but I do worry about out-of-control AIs and genetic engineering in hands of dictators. 1950s-style nuclear winter might be a possibility if a non-democracy uses nuclear weapons.

The counter-culture and the new age were the best prospects for an alternative to modernism.

It was not just chemical attacks in WWI, but its slaughter of an entire generation for no reason which occasioned the Lost Generation's rejection of modernism, but they were just going along with trends already evident in the 1890s and 1900s in new philosophers (Nietzsche, Bergson, Freud, quantum theory) and modern art (post-impressionism, expressionism, symbolism, fauvism, cubism). These and other trends of the Awakening era in Europe were hugely influential, especially on youth.

World War II and the bomb helped to encourage the growth of existentialism (an outgrowth of the popularity of Nietsche and Bergson) and such movements as the beatnicks and anti-war sentiment. But it also extinguished the visionary tendencies in modern art and earlier awakening culture, and left us with humanism and secularism and rampant commercialism.

Post-modernism is an outgrowth of these earlier trends and took hold in the 1960s and 70s. It looks upon progress as an outdated concept and reduces rationalism to relativism.

Meanwhile exploration of the occult, the esoteric and the mystical resulted in new age and neo-pagan movements and other explorers beyond the limited realms of modernism.

Modernism as individualist, liberty-oriented and science-oriented belief in progress is still popular, and has revived among millennials. I expect this mixture to continue. The next awakening may be somewhat more Apollonnian, but there is no chance that it will revive modernism. To suppose so is not to understand the nature of Awakenings, whether Apollonian or Dyonysian. Every Awakening results in philosophies and religious movements that go beyond the rational and toward either or both traditional or mystical religion. Such movements as the Enlightenment and rationalism are not Awakenings, but arrive in other periods in the cycle, such as the current 4T which has seen the suppression of the paranormal on wikipedia by millennial skeptics.

The next Awakening will fulfill the previous one, just as the previous one to some extent extended and fulfilled the one before and twice before. Awakenings skip from one era to the next, and are always intended to bring back spirit into our normally spirit-dead modernist American culture.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#9
(03-04-2019, 05:55 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Modernism as individualist, liberty-oriented and science-oriented belief in progress is still popular, and has revived among millennials.

I know, but millennial culture still contains many barbarian elements like fondness for tattoos, not to mention the generation's porn and social media problem which are unworthy of Apollonian followers of Reason. But the millennials are going in the right direction, or at least were in the 2006-14 period (somewhat optimistic part of the current 4T) before the migration crisis unleashed the demons of nationalism resulting in Brexit and rise of populist leaders like Trump, which in turn caused the rise of SJWs.

Quote:Such movements as the Enlightenment and rationalism are not Awakenings, but arrive in other periods in the cycle, such as the current 4T which has seen the suppression of the paranormal on wikipedia by millennial skeptics.

So what turning was the Enlightenment?

I used to be a fan of the Millennial sceptical movement, but it lost its direction. Sceptics like Sargon of Akkad now turned against feminism, started defending wrongdoers like Harvey Weinstein. Many sceptics I debated on Personality Cafe are in fact libertarians. They now represent the perversion of modernism rather than the best of it. But the sceptical movement can regain its momentum during the 1T, no longer distracted by the political polarisation.

Quote:The next awakening may be somewhat more Apollonnian, but there is no chance that it will revive modernism. To suppose so is not to understand the nature of Awakenings, whether Apollonian or Dyonysian. Every Awakening results in philosophies and religious movements that go beyond the rational and toward either or both traditional or mystical religion.

A traditionalist Christian awakening could be useful if it suppressed the post-1945 cycle's obsession with sex. Something like the social purity movement.
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#10
(03-04-2019, 10:46 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: I've read somewhere that the Emperor wanted to negotiate an honourable act of surrender, and asked the Pope to mediate, but Truman decided to fight to bitter end because he wanted to humiliate Japan and spread achievements of the American Revolution there. He succeeded, but I still cannot approve of the nuclear attack.

Truman knew WW1, he wanted to spare the lives of his soldiers, even if nobody else thought about that.

There were estimates that the war might claim another million lives of G.I.s, and even more Japanese. Even if the Japanese wouldn't decide to kill all of their PoWs or massacre millions of Chinese like they did in the Rape of Nanking before.

Give 'em Hell, Harry!
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#11
(03-06-2019, 10:31 PM)Hintergrund Wrote:
(03-04-2019, 10:46 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: I've read somewhere that the Emperor wanted to negotiate an honourable act of surrender, and asked the Pope to mediate, but Truman decided to fight to bitter end because he wanted to humiliate Japan and spread achievements of the American Revolution there. He succeeded, but I still cannot approve of the nuclear attack.

Truman knew WW1, he wanted to spare the lives of his soldiers, even if nobody else thought about that.

There were estimates that the war might claim another million lives of G.I.s, and even more Japanese. Even if the Japanese wouldn't decide to kill all of their PoWs or massacre millions of Chinese like they did in the Rape of Nanking before.

Give 'em Hell, Harry!

Truman is the last President to have a decision that huge laid in his lap, and had little time in office to use as preparation.  I give him high marks for having the guts to do something less than the extreme of bombing Tokyo, which was one suggestion offered by his advisors.  Let's hoe that no other President has to decide to use nukes again … ever!
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#12
(03-05-2019, 08:17 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote:
(03-04-2019, 05:55 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Modernism as individualist, liberty-oriented and science-oriented belief in progress is still popular, and has revived among millennials.

I know, but millennial culture still contains many barbarian elements like fondness for tattoos, not to mention the generation's porn and social media problem which are unworthy of Apollonian followers of Reason. But the millennials are going in the right direction, or at least were in the 2006-14 period (somewhat optimistic part of the current 4T) before the migration crisis unleashed the demons of nationalism resulting in Brexit and rise of populist leaders like Trump, which in turn caused the rise of SJWs.


Tattoos are not so much barbarous as they are prole. They are heavily associated with Polynesia, which was quite civilized when the West encountered it.

Porn says more about the dissatisfaction with one's sex life (or even its absence). Social media at first looked promising but have since been taken over by people for the worst reasons possible, such as turning them into vehicles of propaganda.
Quote:
Quote:Such movements as the Enlightenment and rationalism are not Awakenings, but arrive in other periods in the cycle, such as the current 4T which has seen the suppression of the paranormal on wikipedia by millennial skeptics.

So what turning was the Enlightenment?

I used to be a fan of the Millennial sceptical movement, but it lost its direction. Sceptics like Sargon of Akkad now turned against feminism, started defending wrongdoers like Harvey Weinstein. Many sceptics I debated on Personality Cafe are in fact libertarians. They now represent the perversion of modernism rather than the best of it. But the sceptical movement can regain its momentum during the 1T, no longer distracted by the political polarisation.


Saeculum, and not turning.

Quote:
Quote:The next awakening may be somewhat more Apollonian, but there is no chance that it will revive modernism. To suppose so is not to understand the nature of Awakenings, whether Apollonian or Dyonysian. Every Awakening results in philosophies and religious movements that go beyond the rational and toward either or both traditional or mystical religion.

A traditionalist Christian awakening could be useful if it suppressed the post-1945 cycle's obsession with sex. Something like the social purity movement.
[/quote]
Every generation redefines what constitutes  'modernity'. But sex solely for procreation is a goner except among fanatics. I once sliced and diced an argument against gay sex as 'unprocreative' by calling attention to the fasted-growing category of 'unprocreative' sex -- sex among the elderly. We can all note that except for a new tolerance of homosexuality, we live in a society more repressive of sex than at any time since the 1960s: we have crackdowns on adult abuse of children, sexual harassment, marital rape, and date rape. Stronger efforts are underway to outlaw abortion.

So how did gays and lesbians get the right to same-sex marriage? Basically they turned against the perverts messing with children!
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#13
(03-05-2019, 08:17 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote:
(03-04-2019, 05:55 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Modernism as individualist, liberty-oriented and science-oriented belief in progress is still popular, and has revived among millennials.

I know, but millennial culture still contains many barbarian elements like fondness for tattoos, not to mention the generation's porn and social media problem which are unworthy of Apollonian followers of Reason. But the millennials are going in the right direction, or at least were in the 2006-14 period (somewhat optimistic part of the current 4T) before the migration crisis unleashed the demons of nationalism resulting in Brexit and rise of populist leaders like Trump, which in turn caused the rise of SJWs.

I know that about millennials, but they are a diverse group with many kinds of trends attracting them. Culture is not their strong suit, as is fairly typical of civic generations. Those trends you mention might be holdovers from the Xers, just as rap music is. But the rational trend among them is stronger than among the previous generations in our cycle. But I don't think the reaction to the migration crisis (mostly the result of the Arab Spring, powered by climate change, and outbreaks of rebellions and escapes from various tyrants worldwide) is especially a millennial movement. They tend instead to be well represented among the migrants and rebels themselves. Most millennials are against Brexit and against Trump, polls show. Some of them are SJWs though, and mostly that's a good trend, even if annoying at times.

Quote:
Quote:Such movements as the Enlightenment and rationalism are not Awakenings, but arrive in other periods in the cycle, such as the current 4T which has seen the suppression of the paranormal on wikipedia by millennial skeptics.

So what turning was the Enlightenment?

I used to be a fan of the Millennial sceptical movement, but it lost its direction. Sceptics like Sargon of Akkad now turned against feminism, started defending wrongdoers like Harvey Weinstein. Many sceptics I debated on Personality Cafe are in fact libertarians. They now represent the perversion of modernism rather than the best of it. But the sceptical movement can regain its momentum during the 1T, no longer distracted by the political polarisation.

Is this new "sceptic" movement spelled with a c?

But I agree, libertarian is a perversion of modernism. I think true modernism will make a comeback in the 2020s, as "progress" resumes (according to my prediction). But it will never again be quite as dominant as it was 150 years ago. There's too many other strains of ideas and beliefs around today, and some among them have a stronger claim on what is truly up-to-date now.

The French Enlightenment led by Voltaire and his friends was a long trend that lasted from the early 1700s 1T all the way to the 4T when the Revolution took it farther than it originally wanted to go. The English version that preceded it which featured John Locke was said to begin during the Glorious Revolution 4T, or earlier.

Quote:
Quote:The next awakening may be somewhat more Apollonian, but there is no chance that it will revive modernism. To suppose so is not to understand the nature of Awakenings, whether Apollonian or Dionysian. Every Awakening results in philosophies and religious movements that go beyond the rational and toward either or both traditional or mystical religion.

A traditionalist Christian awakening could be useful if it suppressed the post-1945 cycle's obsession with sex. Something like the social purity movement.

One historian I wrote made the good point that social freedoms once won, are never entirely lost. It won't happen. Sex is too primal and powerful to suppress. But maybe the obsession will be less dominant. Based on the cycles I see, though, I can't promise that the next Awakening will be much different from the previous one in regard to sex. It is clear that the next Awakening will fulfill and further brighten and perfect the last one rather than take any kind of opposing direction to it.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#14
(03-06-2019, 10:31 PM)Hintergrund Wrote:
(03-04-2019, 10:46 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: I've read somewhere that the Emperor wanted to negotiate an honourable act of surrender, and asked the Pope to mediate, but Truman decided to fight to bitter end because he wanted to humiliate Japan and spread achievements of the American Revolution there. He succeeded, but I still cannot approve of the nuclear attack.

Truman knew WW1, he wanted to spare the lives of his soldiers, even if nobody else thought about that.

There were estimates that the war might claim another million lives of G.I.s, and even more Japanese. Even if the Japanese wouldn't decide to kill all of their PoWs or massacre millions of Chinese like they did in the Rape of Nanking before.

Give 'em Hell, Harry!

I agree with you Bill. A demonstration might have convinced Japan to surrender. But it's true the Japanese needed a change in their government, and that worked for them. That would have had to be a part of the deal. Continuation of the militarist regime was not acceptable after what it had done.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#15
(03-08-2019, 12:27 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: Those trends you mention might be holdovers from the Xers, just as rap music is.

Tattoos and weed probably yes, but problems with social media and porn are typically millennial. Internet overdose. You used to say this as well.

Quote:I don't think the reaction to the migration crisis (mostly the result of the Arab Spring, powered by climate change, and outbreaks of rebellions and escapes from various tyrants worldwide) is especially a millennial movement.

Most neoreactionaries I saw online seem to be millennials from the younger end of the cohort (1995-2002). They are oversocialized young men who discover this ideology (invented by Xers) and experience it as a liberation. Their problem is hatred of women. Most of them haven't got enough contact with real women, spend all their free time on video games, they don't get laid. Perhaps some sexy hippie gal could cure them?

Quote:Is this new "sceptic" movement spelled with a c?

In British English, yes.

Quote:I agree with you Bill. A demonstration might have convinced Japan to surrender. But it's true the Japanese needed a change in their government, and that worked for them. That would have had to be a part of the deal. Continuation of the militarist regime was not acceptable after what it had done.

I agree that this regime was not acceptable, but there were ways to make them reform without using nukes. Germany and Italy changed without anyone using this abomination.
Reply
#16
(03-08-2019, 01:17 PM)Bill the Piper Wrote:
(03-08-2019, 12:27 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: Those trends you mention might be holdovers from the Xers, just as rap music is.

Tattoos and weed probably yes, but problems with social media and porn are typically millennial. Internet overdose. You used to say this as well.

Yes about internet overuse.

Quote:
Quote:I don't think the reaction to the migration crisis (mostly the result of the Arab Spring, powered by climate change, and outbreaks of rebellions and escapes from various tyrants worldwide) is especially a millennial movement.

Most neoreactionaries I saw online seem to be millennials from the younger end of the cohort (1995-2002). They are oversocialized young men who discover this ideology (invented by Xers) and experience it as a liberation. Their problem is hatred of women. Most of them haven't got enough contact with real women, spend all their free time on video games, they don't get laid. Perhaps some sexy hippie gal could cure them?

I realize I didn't see what you have seen online about them. From what I've seen, that group also has an abundance of progressive activists. The Parkland kids seem more typical of them to me. They have the same planetary placement as JFK and Mandela and that group. They opposed Brexit and Trump.

Quote:
Quote:Is this new "sceptic" movement spelled with a c?

In British English, yes.

Quote:I agree with you Bill. A demonstration might have convinced Japan to surrender. But it's true the Japanese needed a change in their government, and that worked for them. That would have had to be a part of the deal. Continuation of the militarist regime was not acceptable after what it had done.

I agree that this regime was not acceptable, but there were ways to make them reform without using nukes. Germany and Italy changed without anyone using this abomination.

They had to be conquered and forced into unconditional surrender. Their leaders died. That's what Truman was facing with the Japanese too. So the question remains, could a demonstration bomb have convinced the Japanese regime to surrender and give up its authority, and thus the USA avoid this nuclear abomination?
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#17
(03-08-2019, 12:34 AM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(03-06-2019, 10:31 PM)Hintergrund Wrote:
(03-04-2019, 10:46 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: I've read somewhere that the Emperor wanted to negotiate an honourable act of surrender, and asked the Pope to mediate, but Truman decided to fight to bitter end because he wanted to humiliate Japan and spread achievements of the American Revolution there. He succeeded, but I still cannot approve of the nuclear attack.

Truman knew WW1, he wanted to spare the lives of his soldiers, even if nobody else thought about that.

There were estimates that the war might claim another million lives of G.I.s, and even more Japanese. Even if the Japanese wouldn't decide to kill all of their PoWs or massacre millions of Chinese like they did in the Rape of Nanking before.

Give 'em Hell, Harry!

I agree with you Bill. A demonstration might have convinced Japan to surrender. But it's true the Japanese needed a change in their government, and that worked for them. That would have had to be a part of the deal. Continuation of the militarist regime was not acceptable after what it had done.

That would have required the Emperor to be in attendance under a flag of truce -- and his safe return to Japan and a receptive public.

He would have had to consent to take the journey, which the militarist regime might not have authorized. He would have had to have been kept a safe distance from the blast zone so that he could survive. He would have had to see the blast damage as live "before" and "after" images for himself. Finally he would have had to convince people culpable in war crimes to surrender. Emperor Hirohito was a constitutional monarch, so he did not have the absolute, despotic power that he was alleged to have according to the hateful propaganda from the United States. The military clique could have killed the Emperor for treason, as it knew what it faced in the event of a surrender. 

And how does one show the destruction that an atomic blast can do? One would have to do the blast on an existing city, complete with structures. OK, maybe some town (a military base?) completely evacuated, with some mannequins and perhaps some decrepit vehicles and farm machinery as stand-ins.

The militaristic regime was the big problem, and the Emperor was the only person who could have sued for peace.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#18
(03-08-2019, 12:27 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: One historian I wrote made the good point that social freedoms once won, are never entirely lost. It won't happen. Sex is too primal and powerful to suppress. But maybe the obsession will be less dominant. Based on the cycles I see, though, I can't promise that the next Awakening will be much different from the previous one in regard to sex. It is clear that the next Awakening will fulfill and further brighten and perfect the last one rather than take any kind of opposing direction to it.

It's not that simple.

Life of "social freedoms" was well known in ancient Canaan, but later austere Judaism of the Patriarchs took over. Ancient Greeko-Roman civilization also had a strong Dionysian aspect. Even Pythagoras ranted against a life of "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll". Then Christianity came, and "social freedoms" were eliminated for a long time. Even before Christianization homosexuality ceased to be aspected IIRC because the women were disgusted by their husbands practising it (I'll leave the graphic reasons to your imagination)

What matters is the dominant value system. As long as liberal values of 18th century revolutionaries are the strongest and most popular ideology in the Anglosphere, it will be hard to make a case against a hedonistic lifestyle. As long as the USA is the leading global power, the liberal ideology will be dominant because USA was built as an epitome of liberalism. Not even Trump can change that, he would have to disown the American Revolution and founding fathers. However, if China becomes the world leader in the new saeculum, its Confucian values will take over sooner or later. Chinese values will influence us, like Western values influenced China in the 19th and 20th centuries.

For the long term future, I think mankind will diversify, different sub-cultures will modify themselves in different ways and many new species will emerge. Some might opt for a Pythagorean-style ascetic intellectualism, others for techno-hedonism like the society of IM Banks' culture novels.

Quote:From what I've seen, that group also has an abundance of progressive activists. The Parkland kids seem more typical of them to me. They have the same planetary placement as JFK and Mandela and that group. They opposed Brexit and Trump.

I think the progressives are "cool kids", while the neoreactionaries tend to be outcasts. When gen X was young, its share of outcasts was interested in Satanism. Outcasts of all generations tend to be attracted to pathological distortions of their respective archetypes.

As for Brexit, heated debates are the worst thing happening in Britain. Worse than either being milked by the Eurocrats or isolated from the continental trade system.
Reply
#19
(03-08-2019, 01:17 PM)Bill the Piper Wrote:
Quote:I don't think the reaction to the migration crisis (mostly the result of the Arab Spring, powered by climate change, and outbreaks of rebellions and escapes from various tyrants worldwide) is especially a millennial movement.

Most neoreactionaries I saw online seem to be millennials from the younger end of the cohort (1995-2002). They are oversocialized young men who discover this ideology (invented by Xers) and experience it as a liberation. Their problem is hatred of women. Most of them haven't got enough contact with real women, spend all their free time on video games, they don't get laid. Perhaps some sexy hippie gal could cure them?

What sexy hippie gal? This isn't the "Awakening" anymore. At that time, young women were very feminine, well educated (compared to today), polite, yet un-tainted by radical feminism, and STD-free. They were the kind of girl which returns from a party and said "I don't know what I did there, but this is my new hobby!" No wonder middle-ages Silent men got the "Jennifer Fever".

But today? The young antifeminists attack the "third wave feminists" for being perverted, man-hating, slutty, FAT, and having stupid short haircuts and hair colors. And they have the photos to prove it.

Ever seen a photo of Lesley Gore ("You don't own me") when she sang that song? She was a radical feminist and a lesbian, but managed to be more feminine than the average conservative women of today.

The way younger men may see it: The Silents and Boomers had lots of fun during the Awakening, got all the good women, and since they have the money and the power, they get the better-looking and less radical feminists young women too (as in, today), while the young men get jack and shit. What's left to them? Either masturbate to all kinds of porn, or became gay. You can't expect them to be happy about this.
Reply
#20
(03-09-2019, 06:29 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote:
(03-08-2019, 12:27 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: One historian I wrote made the good point that social freedoms once won, are never entirely lost. It won't happen. Sex is too primal and powerful to suppress. But maybe the obsession will be less dominant. Based on the cycles I see, though, I can't promise that the next Awakening will be much different from the previous one in regard to sex. It is clear that the next Awakening will fulfill and further brighten and perfect the last one rather than take any kind of opposing direction to it.

It's not that simple.

Life of "social freedoms" was well known in ancient Canaan, but later austere Judaism of the Patriarchs took over. Ancient Greeko-Roman civilization also had a strong Dionysian aspect. Even Pythagoras ranted against a life of "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll". Then Christianity came, and "social freedoms" were eliminated for a long time. Even before Christianization homosexuality ceased to be aspected IIRC because the women were disgusted by their husbands practising it (I'll leave the graphic reasons to your imagination)

What matters is the dominant value system. As long as liberal values of 18th century revolutionaries are the strongest and most popular ideology in the Anglosphere, it will be hard to make a case against a hedonistic lifestyle. As long as the USA is the leading global power, the liberal ideology will be dominant because USA was built as an epitome of liberalism. Not even Trump can change that, he would have to disown the American Revolution and founding fathers. However, if China becomes the world leader in the new saeculum, its Confucian values will take over sooner or later. Chinese values will influence us, like Western values influenced China in the 19th and 20th centuries.

For the long term future, I think mankind will diversify, different sub-cultures will modify themselves in different ways and many new species will emerge. Some might opt for a Pythagorean-style ascetic intellectualism, others for techno-hedonism like the society of IM Banks' culture novels.

I doubt you can compare ancient societies to today in regard to "social freedoms." There certainly were dionysian aspects; after all, the god was invented by the Greeks, and there were places to go and cults to join in many parts of the Greco-Roman world. But most people didn't have much freedom. Few if any societies were ruled by liberal values. There were lots of social castes and taboos for various people in society.

My prophecy is pretty well-grounded. Perhaps you'll get to see if I am correct that the late 2040s will fulfill and extend the late 1960s.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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