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Is our civilization entering the Age of Decay?

To know is not too demanding: it merely requires memory and time. But to understand is quite a different matter: it requires intellectual ability and training, a selfconscious awareness of what one is doing, experience in techniques of analysis and synthesis, and above all, perspective. - C. Quigley

Table of content:

The evolution of civilizations

According to "The evolution of civilizations" (1961) by esteemed historian professor C. Quigley the rise and fall of civilizations can be divided into seven stages named:

  1. Mixture

  2. Gestation

  3. Expansion

  4. Age of Conflict

  5. Universal empire

  6. Decay

  7. Invasion

Western civilization

In chapter 5 Quigley wrote (in 1961!):

Western civilization has gone from Stage 3 to Stage 4 three different times. The three Ages of Conflict are: (a) the period of the Hundred Years' War, say 1300-1430; (b) the period of the Second Hundred Years' War, say 1650-1815; and (c) the period of war crisis that began about 1900 and still continues. In each case the core was conquered by an imperialist state: by England under Henry V about 1420, by France under Napoleon about 1810, and by Germany under Hitler about 1942. In the first two cases the old institution of expansion (chivalry and mercantilism) was circumvented by a new instrument of expansion (commercial capitalism and industrial capitalism), and a new period of expansion commenced. In the third case it is too early to see what has happened. We may be getting a new instrument of expansion that will circumvent monopoly capitalism and bring our civilization once again into a period of expansion. Or we may continue in the Age of Conflict until the whole of our civilization comes to be dominated by a single state (probably the United States).

On ideology:

... Of course, the threat to the Western ideology based on synthetic moderation came equally, if not more, easily from the Left, from the materialists and nominalists. But this is a well-known story that needs to be mentioned here only because the loss of the ideology of Western civilization (like the earlier loss of the ideology of Classical civilization) will rest rather on the overemphasis on materialism and selfish individualism than it will on overemphasis of rationalism or spirituality. In most civilizations, as we have already shown, there is a strong tendency for the basic ideology of the society to become lost and misunderstood during the Age of Conflict and to be abandoned totally in the Age of Decay. Since Western civilization has gone into an Age of Conflict three times, the threat to the society's ideology has been practically endemic. Anyone who wishes to recover this ideology can do so by reflecting on the word "moderation" or the expression "reconciliation of extremes" or, more abstrusely, on our maxim about the "unfolding of truth through social activity over time." When our old professor said of Goethe that he was "conciliatory," he was saying that he was a figure in the Western tradition; but when we say that Hitler was an extremist or a fanatic we are equally clearly excluding Hitler from the real Western tradition.

The road to Decay

What takes a civilization into an Age of Conflict according to Quigley is the institutionalization of the instrument of expansion and what solidifies a civilizations fate towards decay is:

The vested interests encourage the growth of imperialist wars and irrationality because both serve to divert the discontent of the masses away from their vested interests (the uninvested surplus). Accordingly, some of the defenders of vested interests divert a certain part of their surplus to create instruments of class oppression, instruments of imperialist wars, and instruments of irrationality. Once these instruments are created and begin to become institutions of class oppression, of imperialist wars, and of irrationality, the chances of the institution of expansion being reformed into an instrument of expansion become almost nil.

To the conspiracy literate this part makes me think of the document "silent weapons for quiet wars". If you have no idea what I just said but it peaked your interest, and/or you want more knowledge on the "vested interests" of our time go to my blog:

From my, admittedly very limited, knowledge of history I would argue that the United States became the universal empire from 1971 when Nixon severed the link between gold and the dollar. It sounds a lot like Quigleys explanation in my opinion (peaceful for the west at least!):

When a universal empire is established in a civilization, the society enters upon a "golden age." At least this is what it seems to the periods that follow it. Such a golden age is a period of peace and of relative prosperity. Peace arises from the absence of any competing political units within the area of the civilization itself, and from the remoteness or even absence of struggles with other societies outside. Prosperity arises from the ending of internal belligerent destruction, the reduction of internal trade barriers, the establishment of a common system of weights, measures, and coinage, and from the extensive government spending associated with the establishment of a universal empire. But this appearance of prosperity is deceptive. Little real economic expansion is possible because no real instrument of expansion exists. New inventions are rare, and real economic investment is lacking. The vested interests have triumphed and are living off their capital, building unproductive and blatant monuments like the Pyramids, the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon," the Colosseum, or (as premature examples) Hitler's Chancellery and the Victor Emmanuel Memorial. The masses of the people in such an empire live from the waste of these non-productive expenditures. The golden age is really the glow of overripeness, and soon decline begins. When it becomes evident, we pass from Stage 5 (Universal Empire) to Stage 6 (Decay).

The trojan horse of global transformation

Right now, in June 2022, there are major changes happening to the global monetary system and one of the main goals of the global "vested interests" is to restructure the monetary system, remodel the power structure of our world and centralize global control even more. But no need to take my word for it!

Now being part of the "vested interests" or "the big club that you and I ain't in" as George Carlin said is not all easy peasy according to Quigley:

These three new vested interests in combination with the older vested institution of expansion are in a position to prevent all reform. The last of these three, the old institution of expansion, now begins to lose its privileges and advantages to the three institutions it has financed. Of these three, the institution of class oppression controls much of the political power of the society; the institution of imperialist wars controls much of the military power of the society; and the institution of irrationality controls much of the intellectual life of the society. These three (which may be combined into only two or one) become dominant, and the group that formerly controlled the institution of expansion falls back into a secondary role, its surpluses largely absorbed by its own creations. In this way, in Mesopotamian civilization, the Sumerian priesthood, which had been the original instrument of expansion, fell into a secondary role behind the secular kings it had set up to command its armies in the imperialist wars of its Age of Conflict. In the same way in Classical civilization the slaveowning landlords who had been the original instrument of expansion were largely eclipsed by the mercenary army that had been created to carry on the imperialist wars of the Age of Conflict but took on life and purposes of its own and came to dominate Classical civilization completely. So too the Nazi party, which had been financed by some of the German monopoly capitalists as an instrument of class oppression, of imperialist war, and of irrationality, took on purposes of its own and began to dominate the monopoly capitalists for its own ends.

So are we on the doorstep of an age of decay? I will let you be the judge, but for the people struggling to let go and accept the inevitable cycles of change it will go something like this according to Quigley:

The Stage of Decay is a period of acute economic depression, declining standards of living, civil wars between the various vested interests, and growing illiteracy. The society grows weaker and weaker. Vain efforts are made to stop the wastage by legislation. But the decline continues. The religious, intellectual, social, and political levels of the society begin to lose the allegiance of the masses of the people on a large scale. New religious movements begin to sweep over the society. There is a growing reluctance to fight for the society or even to support it by paying taxes. This period of decay may last for a long time, but eventually the civilization can no longer defend itself, as Mesopotamia could not after 400 B.C., as Egypt could not about the same time, as Crete could not after 1400 B.C., as Rome could not after A.D. 350, as the Incas and Aztecs could not after 1500, as India could not after 1700, as China could not after 1830, and as Islam could not after 1850.

Time to learn chinese?

If western civilization is in fact entering an age of decay that would mean invasion comes next, so who will the invaders be? This paints a certain picture in my opinion:

At the present time India seems to be in Stage 2 of a new civilization; China may be in Stage 1 of a new civilization; while the situation in Japan and in the Near East is still too chaotic to make any judgments about what is happening. Russian civilization, which began about A.D. 500 and had its period of expansion about 1500-1900, had the state as its instrument of expansion and was just entering upon Stage 4 in 1917 when the reform of this institution gave it a new instrument of expansion. As a result, Russian civilization has been in Stage 3 for the second time in recent years, but it remains a relatively weak civilization because of its weak incentives to invention. A collision between this civilization, which is early in Stage 3, and Western civilization, which has just begun Stage 4, would probably be indecisive in its outcome.
If Western civilization reforms and again passes into Stage 3, it will be far too powerful to be defeated by Russian civilization; if Western civilization does not reform, but continues through the Stage of Conflict into the Stage of Universal Empire, the threat from Russian civilization will be much greater. However, by that time the new Indian civilization or the new Chinese civilization may be in Stage 3 and will present greater threats to both Western and Russian civilizations than either of these will present to the other. The possible, but by no means inevitable, relationships of these four civilizations in terms of the relevant stages can be seen from the following chart.

Insights from a chat with a russian friend of mine living in the west:

In Russia nothing has changed, you can buy anything you want. All the goods are shipped via China now. China invades Russia, every day we have 20 planes which bring Chinese people. Vladivostok is 100% Chinese city. Russia becoming a Chinese farm. There are non officially 10 mln Chinese in Siberia. Everything in Russian airports in Chinese language first, than in Russian. And china needs Russia resources. They are screwing Russia and soon will dominate because Russia does not have any technologies, can’t convert raw materials, can’t build factories etc. Chinese have all and all they need is the land, which was apparently sold to them. And they are smart, win without any war directly. And Chinese don’t employ Russians, they bring their own people and send Russians to hell. And they live without being integrated into any community, they are self sufficient.

So in other words... 是时候学习中文了。

Serenity now!

But no matter what let us remember that:

Is a new civilization on the rise?

I believe so but.. don't trust verify ;)

In any society the nonmaterial culture is the most significant feature of the whole society, because it is the least capable of being exported and because it is pervasive in all the other levels as well. - C. Quigley.

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