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Today, Dredd Blog continues the theme under the notion of "a decline" versus "the decline", as was done in the first post of the series.
The link of recent American history to ancient Roman history is often attempted when the decline of nations or empires is discussed.
That is probably because of our mythical belief that "history repeats itself."
But let's face it, since history is just a trail of tracks left by our species, what "repeats itself" is our thinking and doing, yes, history is merely ink and paper trails and other inanimate objects we ought not blame for our own intransigence and habitual ignorance --two of the central pillars of decline.
In that regard, but before we look at ongoing habitual machinations of the type Rome fell into, let's review what we noticed about the spin and propaganda which some contemporary historians are playing us with:
Hey, are you tempted to wonder if one man's "decline" is another man's "ascension" as I have been?(A Decline Of The American Republic). Oh yeah, "that's the ticket," America is not declining, the rest of the world is just rising like the level of the sea around us.
Perhaps that notion is what one author meant when he said:
"This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else."(The Post-American World, by Fareed Zakaria). I think we have to admit that Mr. Zakaria has learned much after immigrating to the U.S. from India, especially how to spin softly but write a big book.
The Roman and European delusions of the feudal type are similar to some of the institutionalized delusions plaguing our current realm of officialdumb.
We see this in another author's somewhat inept ability to grasp the pillars of that history, focusing instead on the glittering art carved on the face of those pillars:
Rome in the first two centuries A.D. faced a yawning gulf between rich and poor. The mighty empire built on tribute reached its geographic limits. Its economy created few exportable goods. Slaves acquired by conquest built most of its bridges, roads and aqueducts and took jobs in farming, mining and construction. As this cheaper labor replaced Roman citizens, idle, unemployed, hungry people filled the capital.(The Danger of Living on Bread and Circuses). Yes, inequality of opportunity is relevant, yet that is still somewhat of an ill informed piece --to the extent it claims to reveal the reason for "the decline" of the Roman Empire.
The Caesars created make-work and part-time jobs, subsidized housing and doled out grain. Even more, they found, was needed. “A people that yawns is ripe for revolt,” wrote Jerome Carcopino in “Daily Life in Ancient Rome.”
The emperors added holidays until, eventually, the Romans spent half their days attending gladiator games, public executions and chariot races. Disgusted, the satirist Juvenal accused his fellow citizens of selling out for bribes of “bread and circuses.”
That is because it ignores the stair-step phenomenon of "a decline" which Dredd Blog is pointing out in this series:
Getting back to the subject "a decline or the decline", a classic example to consider is the Roman Empire.(A Decline Of The American Republic). The exercise, then, is to isolate the predominate dynamic, the one which is prevalent before and during all of "a decline" events and in "the decline" --as was done in the first episode:
That empire's decline is attributed to a whole host of causes by a whole host of historians.
Wikipedia has some text containing an example which might indicate that all declines have multiple "a declines", but only one "the decline" in the final analysis:
... decline of the Roman Empire refers to both the gradual disintegration of the economy of Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom.(Wikipedia, bold in original). In refined terms, the final doom of an empire is "the decline", while incremental disintegrations preceding that final doom are a series of "a decline" events.
I once compared this to the phases of an urbanite freezing to death, and the very perplexing and practically universal human behavior phenomenon of the taking off of the clothes in the final phase of freezing to death.
Who in their right mind would take off their clothes while freezing? Well, that leads to the crux of the matter.(ibid). The institutionalization of delusion is the institutionalization of official propaganda (see The Ways of Bernays and Etiology of Social Dementia - 8).
My offer in this matter is that the one thing that is prevalent in all "the declines" is the ingredient of the institutionalization of delusion.
In the final analysis, once delusion becomes institutionalized, "the decline" is assured even when preceded by "a decline" after "a decline".
When the U.S. officially, through propaganda, became a Wartocracy engendered by the ill advised addiction to oil, it initiated a series of "a decline" events within a feudalistic vortex that has doomed us to "the decline" via a growing national dementia in government (see e.g. American Feudalsim - 3 and Viva Egypt - 2).
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.
Dr. John N. Gray - The Myth of Progress
Time (min:sec) - subject
01:00 - civilization and barbarism
01:30 - our situation today is akin to the situation in 1913
02:05 - international struggles for resources (see The Universal Smedley)
02:15 - religious conflict and war then as now
03:50 - civilization often becomes a vehicle for barbarism
04:45 - two traders go to the Congo with ideals then lose those ideals
05:00 - the neoCon myth of bringing progress to them or eradicating them
05:30 - possessed by a myth of "progress" that is actually imperialism
06:25 - eras in science tend not to be repeated once left behind
06:40 - this is not the case in civilization / ethics and politics
06:50 - things are learned in ethics / politics but they don't stay learned
07:20 - an example is the return to torture by civilization's preeminent democracy
08:25 - the progress myth is belief that knowledge makes us more civilized
08:30 - most of us believe in this myth
08:45 - but knowledge increase produces more civilization and barbarism
11:45 - "social evolution" is reemerging to what it was 100 years ago
13:00 - Herbert "survival of the fittest" Spencer at first believed but recanted
14:00 - one think you find about that myth is that it is fashionable to a status quo
15:33 - the social evolution myth attaches to any current notion of "what is good"
15:45 - fifty years from now, slavery may be seen as the direction of "social evolution"
16:00 - eras in ethical / political ideology tend to return, but in science not so
17:00 - questions