76 Comments

Simplicus - You might appreciate a book by Dr Jim Penman from Australia. Biohistory - Decline and Fall of the West.

He presents a Biological theory of why civilisations rise and fall. I will leave the details but in his updated version, he singles out Russia as perhaps the West only hope of staving off collapse the Muslim world.

The Ebook is free but hardcover is very well priced. https://biohistory.org

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Thanks for the link!!

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Penrose is a crypto fascist. His work is nonsense.

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As a chronological body of work, your posts should be in future history books, but we all know who controls history. However, your direct asides like this one cannot be erased from the psyche once read. I thank you for encapsulating so much with all your published words and references.

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This is very Svetlana Boym territory.

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You reflect the state of the West, not the state of the world. Because the West is a failed society, a society that has failed to deliver on its promises. So in the West we see the death of the idea of progress, the death of optimism.The West is locked into its false assumptions and cannot imagine a different, better, future. But there are places in the world where people look forward to the future--places that are bursting with vitality, vigor and optimism. Places that see the sun rising, not setting. China, Russia, Iran, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN--the peoples and civilizations that are struggling to be reborn, to be recognized. The nations that are finally waking up from the nightmare of colonialism. Tomorrow belongs to them. And they will have it--as the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Palestinians and others are demonstrating. These are places of spiritual health, exuberance and energy. The future is theirs, and yes, by God, they will have it. And the West be damned.

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Excellent comment. It's tragic to see Poland - up until now a stable and increasingly prosperous society - seem to signal that it wants to follow the West's perverse conception of progress by electing Donald Tusk. It'll be their ruin.

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Excellent!!!!!!

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It is fashionable now to distill the essence of the West into a concentrated toxin, like 'colonialism', but as the earlier sections in this essay describe so eloquently, there was much more to it than that, much that was truly excellent and fair but which is now tawdry and faded. The current polities you mentioned now on the rise are similarly mixed bags. Both Russia and China lost tens, if not hundreds, of millions of lives recently during the last century and for them too, much that was grand and glorious in their previous cultures has now faded. That said, they are indeed on the rise even as we fall, but it is not because they are spotless and pure and we are not. We do both our own ancestors and our own human natures an injustice by ascribing only evil to them and explaining our current decline as due entirely to the sins of our fathers; rather, we must acknowledge that some of what rose in the West was good and some was evil just as some of what is rising now in the East is good and some evil. It is a mixed picture, just as human experience is always a blend of head and heart.

All societies ultimately face the same challenge: how to foster goodness and discourage evil to engender meaningful, productive lives and uplifted societies which protect and flourish the same. Time never stands still so even societies which generally achieve this will do so only for a while, since the more goodness there is the more of an enticing target it is for evil to coopt. Every Garden of Eden has a Serpent in it! The Confucian approach may be the best one ever specifically designed to deal with this issue (how to continuously promote good in society), but the worldview from which it grew is no more - the Chinese are modern materialists now as well - and so we can no longer perceive, let alone adopt, it.

In any case, those young today will learn in a few decades how well the modern Chinese system performs in this regard, though I suspect Russia is more on the right track because the last century for them was a more obvious and deeply traumatic catastrophe so they are not rebuilding their brave new civilization with arrogance, rather great care. The Chinese 'modernisation' drive is more breathtaking in scope and ambition, at least on the material level, with plans to connect the entire planet with their roads, trains and ships but their sheer numbers may tend to drive whatever they do, and no matter how well intentioned, into the rigid hell of totalitarianism. Time will tell.

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Excellent post, terrific!

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I could not have summarized my thoughts better than this writing. Personally, I veer toward Russia since I agree wholeheartedly about your description of China as it relates to materialism coupled with totalitarianism. While I'd have a difficult time with Religion, like where I live now, I meet and become friendly with those who seek peace and cherish souls.

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To assume "the West" is all the noise sifted through the Internet Monopolies and the controlled Media, is a mistake. Boiling underneath, awaiting the as yet unknown catalyst, are millions who will not follow the East or South, but do not want to be their enemy, either.

Financialization enriched the many Princes, but never, ever made anything of value. Price is not value. Printing money has the same practical economic effect as cutting the same pie into smaller and smaller slices, while giving your friends, the piggies, the first feeding.

To the article, it staggers me, when I count the suicides I have known during my life, that such prose can be written with such dark compulsion hovering in the background.

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I wouldn't romanticize anything about China. Chinese citizens are run like robots by the highly corrupt Communist regime where Big Brother watches everything that you do. Do not step out of line with a non-regime independent thought. China is a horror story for mankind.

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That "Pax Liberalis" is actually Pox Liberalis.

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Contemporary misnamed Liberals would be shocked to find Classic Liberals believed in Free Enterprise with Government being the minimum necessary for Society to function.

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A beautiful elegy Mr. S! Thank you for that. Not philosophy; not poetry; no regret or axes to grind ...just the thoughtful observations of a passenger on the ship going down. (And! I have no lingering doubts about you being AI...no one would load Stefan Zweig into an AI data base!!). I have to feel the sentiments expressed here have to come from a man of a certain age; one with personal experienced memories of what is missing now.

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AI is controlled by the Controllers. Feed them questions and data at your peril.

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Well yeah. But after 25 years shooting my mouth off on web/email I’m pretty sure if they want me it’s not gonna be a problem. Point here is that AI can’t write what we’re seeing here…at least that’s my opinion. I think if anyone is gonna be a modern day John Henry and “beat that steam drill on down” that Simplicius has a good shot at it.

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Jan 1·edited Jan 2

I will come back to this, as dawn breaks shortly. ❤️🐈‍⬛ My sweet, Vesper Meadows. Above me, @4000 feet, lies the large meadow, aptly named, Vesper Meadows. A restoration project in the wilds of the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. A return to the by gone era of fresh running streams, fields abundant in native flora, the wild raptors on wings of grace, and my former subsistence hunting grounds. Now, in my 6th decade, I enjoy the beauty, peace and see forever views with a longing; the return to Vesper Meadows heals my soul. So does your eloquent prose my friend. Inhale, exhale…slowly. My bones sing me home.❤️🐴🧲🐈‍⬛❤️

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Beautiful thoughts Simplicus. It's nice to reas someone so eloquent. Laking that skill myself, I feel the ride is over,and the plane will hopefully go into a safe emergency landing.

Cheers, and Happy 2024 !

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The West put faith in themselves not God and now we see the result, ........ a growing shithole sucking all Western countries into it like a huge black hole, not that such a thing as a black hole actually exists but the metaphor is correct. Until we stop trying to sit at the moneychanger's tables that Christ overturned noithing can change.

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Of all the many Gods conjured to provide answers to the not-yet-known and to be used as a tool by the Powerful to scare the sheep, I think he/she/it has moved on to some new planet and another corner of the Multiverse.

Can't be happy with what has risen to the top here.

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Simplicius, Happy New Year!

Remember this observation...

"Presently Leto passed him and, glancing back, said: "Have you noticed, Stil, how beautiful the young women are this year?"

or

It is always darker before the sunrise...

You should really have a drink with this guy... You would enjoy eachother's company. Maybe do a show together... https://www.youtube.com/@EmpireoftheMind

Good luck

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Excellent commentary on the soul cancer killing the West.

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This is the empty verbosity of the hopeless man, reminding one that nothing has changed whatsoever since King Solomon wrote the equally meaning-bereft words, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." In stark contrast to this nihilism, the words of the Saviour of all mankind, "I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." Only in Him, both yesterday, today, and forever, do we find the true meaning in life, which resides not in stale or reheated ideas, and empty dreams of future contentment, but the everlasting words, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand, pleasures for evermore " But mankind will continue, as he has always done, on the broad downward path that leads to destruction of both body and soul.

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IIRC, "Eat, drink and be merry" is another Pharisee theft from the Greeks.

Same as the lack of Footnotes for the concepts they took from Zoroaster.

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Eat drink and be merry has been the philosophy of fallen and hopeless man throughout the ages, and belongs to nobody in particular. Solomon was simply rehearsing the standard approach of all non Hebrew peoples throughout time, and including we ourselves. Solomon wasn't a Pharisee anyway, and Pharisees didn't write the Bible. By the time Saul - a Pharisee - wrote what he wrote, he had become Paul, a Christian.

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Funnily enough, I am reading Zweig's The World of Yesterday as well, with some Lenin biography. All the best in your work and life moving forward.

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I don't know another way to say this, but your art is growing STRONG, brother. Write a hundred more pieces like this, and you'll be unstoppable.

As for the content, America really IS a high-security prison, no metaphor necessary. Just try entering the country, EVEN AS A CITIZEN. The document checks, physical pat-downs, and security scans at border control are identical to the intake at a prison.

As for the rest, it is only the collective "West" which is feeling this sense of gloom and doom and loss of enthusiasm for the future - elsewhere, things are looking quite bright. Try finding a moody and depressed person in Lagos, Nigeria, or Mumbai, India or even Cairo in Egypt - there's a sizzle in the air, in these places.

For them, it is the same as the Belle Epoque passage quoted above, opportunities are appearing everywhere, new places and resources can be reached, and the old ghosts of starvation and misery are melting in the bright sunlight of today and tomorrow.

You know, it occurred to me that the collective "West" (and those places that ape it, like Dubai or Singapore) are steadily surrounding themselves with dead things. Dead buildings, dead websites, zombie corporations, lifeless financialization, mummified organizations, and silent tons of concrete and plastic. Everywhere you look, there's some dead entity blocking your path, looming over your path, and encasing life in its silent and merciless grasp, to the point where even BREATHING is now a climate-destroying sin.

Who would want to live in such a world? No one. Some, of course, are rushing headlong into new forms of eternal death such as "virtual reality" or AGI, but the majority are creeping, crawling, and steadily sneaking off towards the green and overlooked corners where life can thrive - homeschooling, off-grid, primitive/bush skills, gardening (but NOT farming), prepping, crafting, blacksmithing, bartering, and all the rest. Slowly, person by person, the folks forced or shamed into attending this "amazing marvels of the glorious future" party are quietly slipping out of the back door and never coming back.

I know a LOT of people expect violent showdowns in 2024, but I think it'll actually be more of a fizzle than a boom. Lots of growling and foot stomping left to endure, of course, but in the end, the monster will die from lack of oxygen rather than a mighty and glorious revolutionary sword thrust to the heart. And then we can finally put those paper dollars to good use as composting material.

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"Vesperance (n.): The solitary emotion of wistful recognition of the present as a fading era, tinged with anticipation for an unrecognizable, transformative future."

Wistful: Full of melancholy longing or wishful yearning. Expressing sadness or yearning. Longing; wishful; desirous.

then there is:

"with anticipation for an unrecognizable, transformative future"

....and then the whole scenario repeats itself ad nauseum. ....the human condition, Dukkha.

If one takes it down to a microscopic level, rather than Warhol's "middle of the decade approach" (ie 5 years to late and 5 years too early approach, but then that was Warhol) one is not caught up in vesperance.

But at the microscopic level, the – in the moment level, takes an awareness that is in short supply in a world where human attention spans are less than that of a goldfish.

happy new year, or is it no longer new. :)

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