A Tour of Our Decadent Civilization
Civilizations normally go through three stages; Barbaric, Vigorous and Decadent.
It’s easy to find examples of barbaric and decadent civilizations. We can find all the barbaric civilizations to suit an entire faculty’s worth of in the Middle East. And then back home we can see the decadent civilization that employs their kind to bemoan the West.
Vigorous is what America used to be when it was moving west, producing at record rates and becoming a world power. Decadent is what it is becoming.
The barbaric civilization is the simplest of all. It runs on kinship. Pre-rational, it operates on explosions of emotion. It has no concept of enduring facts or objective reasoning. It holds life cheaply and kills casually. It loathes outsiders and has no universal laws. It is ruled by hierarchies which gain their position through brutality and trickery.
The decadent civilization has a million laws which it applies selectively. Its universal laws, inherited from a vigorous civilization, are so mired in legalisms as to be meaningless. The laws do not mean what they say. Instead they must be interpreted by a specialized caste. Everyone is always in violation of some obscure laws. Life depends on a lawless dispensation from the law.
The crucial task of the law is interpretation that keeps everyone from constantly being punished. This task is accomplished by lawyers, lobbyists and the politicians who are constantly adding more laws to fix the interpretations in the old laws creating a complex mass of contradictory information.
This holds true in every other area of life.
Interpretation is what the decadent civilization does best. While vigorous civilizations discover new things, decadent civilizations endlessly categorize and re-categorize them to accommodate intellectual fads.
The decadents are great categorizers. They know where everything should belong. They employ armies of bureaucrats to operate vast filing systems which never quite work as planned. They don’t cure diseases. That’s what vigorous civilizations do. But they do spend billions on medical record systems that never seem to be compatible with each other.
Decadents have a great deal of information and no idea what to do with it. The great task of decadent civilizations is a futile effort to organize all the information they have so that they can make use of it. The internet is the ultimate such mechanism and it is largely a failure as such. It has many entertaining and useful aspects, but it is actually becoming more disorganized with time, rather than less so. is another information organizational failure. So is the VA.
The decadent civilization is convinced that if it can amass enough information, its interpretations will be superior, but its information gathering techniques and its interpretative techniques are both fatally flawed by an inability to focus, by ideologically obsessions and societal corruption. Scientists may have more rapid access to more information, but the scientific community is more contaminated leading to worse results. Similarly, corruption undermines information gathering efforts from the start as projects are diverted to crony contractors by corrupt politicians.
Vigorous civilizations understand that a process must be kept clean by open debate. Decadent civilizations operate corrupt closed processes while convinced of their own innate superiority.
Decadent civilizations are less interested in discovering new things than in disproving old things. The corruption of the decadent civilizations handicaps its advancement. The middling talents at the helm rewrite history while justifying their misrule by denouncing the achievements of their vigorous ancestors.
Where the vigorous civilization disproves the old through its achievements, the decadent civilization considers the disproving of the old civilization to be an achievement in and of itself. Where the vigorous civilization outside its parent, the decadent civilization is still stuck fighting “Daddy”.
If you examine our achievements today, they increasingly have much to do with the supposed social and intellectual progress we have made since the fifties. This progress is relative. It depends on how we view the fifties rather than what we actually have. Worse still, much of this progress is in outlook, rather than in reality. We are better because we are morally superior.
Despite the disdain for the past, decadent civilizations struggle to do more than deconstruct and then helplessly imitate the past. Chaotic deconstruction of past creative arts is followed by retro copying of them, first ironically and then earnestly. Nostalgia becomes the central industry of a civilization increasingly incapable of making its own culture.
The central cultural critique becomes updating older works to more politically correct forms. A classic character is made black or gay. Problems with diversity or sexism are tackled. The critic becomes a commissar whose job is to sanctify the transformation of an old politically incorrect work as politically correct. That is the role of the social justice warrior.
All this energy makes it appear as if there is cultural ferment when nothing is actually being produced. Instead older works are being “cleaned up” in keeping with new social values by a civilization that frantically chews up the past in a desire to forget the problems of the present.
People living in decadent civilization have a greater need for entertainment due to leisure time, extended adolescence and the breakup of the family. But their lack of meaningful work, family engagement and adult responsibilities leaves them increasingly less able to produce it. Instead they become children putting together pieces of stories that “Daddy” once told them while taking the credit.
Decadents confuse criticism and curation with creativity. They develop great sensitivity to everything from literary styles to foods. In a decadent society, everyone is a cultivated critic, but these critics value style over substance. Their criticism is a cultural signal rather than a mastery of technique. The decadent civilization is obsessed with taste as brand. It is sensitive to subtleties, but fails to see the large flaws in a work. Its creativity is microscopically innovative and macroscopically a failure. Its subtle refinements cannot compensate for the lack of vision.
In a decadent civilization, everyone can be a critic or a collector of something, even as no one actually produces anything new until there are more critics and collectors than creators.
The decadent civilization spends much of its time and effort in a battle against apathy. It is forever “raising awareness” about something or other. Its sophisticated messaging however creates apathy as quickly as it erases it. Its messaging becomes more short term and more hysterical. Everything is a crisis and every message is pitched at the highest possible level.
The outrage of today is quickly forgotten by the outrage of tomorrow. The organizers dream of sustaining awareness for real change only to dive into the next round of short-term messaging.
In a decadent civilization, everyone is always fighting a political battle, while the real changes are orchestrated by power groups behind the scenes and presented as fait accomplis to a bewildered public.And most of what is debated is a distraction from what truly matters.
Barbaric and decadent civilizations are both so dishonest that they are incapable of seeing their own lies.
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