The downward spiral of decadence

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The downward spiral of decadence

Postby WW_III_ANGRY » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:29 pm

There was a time, not too long ago, in which decency, decorum, honor and integrity reigned supreme. Those days are over for US culture. It has been over an by hordes of the outrageous, attention gained through being crass has become more important. Maybe social media has something to do with the desperation for attention, maybe the lack of parenting. Surely there are a lot of reasons.

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-reach ... se-2017-12

"In The History of the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon luridly evokes the Rome of 408 A.D., when the armies of the Goths prepared to descend upon the city.

The marks of imperial decadence appeared not only in grotesque displays of public opulence and waste, but also in the collapse of faith in reason and science.

The people of Rome, Gibbon writes, fell prey to “a puerile superstition” promoted by astrologers and to soothsayers who claimed “to read in the entrails of victims the signs of future greatness and prosperity.”

Would a latter-day Gibbon describe today’s America as “decadent”? I recently heard a prominent, and pro-American, French thinker (who was speaking off the record) say just that.

He was moved to use the word after watching endless news accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets alternate with endless revelations of sexual harassment.

I flinched, perhaps because a Frenchman accusing Americans of decadence seems contrary to the order of nature. And the reaction to Harvey Weinstein et al. is scarcely a sign of hysterical puritanism, as I suppose he was implying.

And yet, the shoe fit. The sensation of creeping rot evoked by that word seems terribly apt.

Perhaps in a democracy the distinctive feature of decadence is not debauchery but terminal self-absorption— the loss of the capacity for collective action, the belief in common purpose, even the acceptance of a common form of reasoning.

We listen to necromancers who prophesy great things while they lead us into disaster. We sneer at the idea of a “public” and hold our fellow citizens in contempt. We think anyone who doesn’t pursue self-interest is a fool.

We cannot blame everything on Donald Trump, much though we might want to. In the decadent stage of the Roman Empire, or of Louis XVI’s France, or the dying days of the Habsburg Empire so brilliantly captured in Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, decadence seeped downward from the rulers to the ruled.

But in a democracy, the process operates reciprocally."
Last edited by WW_III_ANGRY on Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The downward spiral of decadence

Postby The Eternal Warrior » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:58 pm

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:There was a time, not too long ago, in which decency, decorum, honor and integrity reigned supreme.



I wonder which time that was. Pretty sure it was for an hour somewhere back in the dim past where someone brainfarted for an hour that it existed and then the hour was up.
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Re: The downward spiral of decadence

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:51 pm

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:There was a time, not too long ago, in which decency, decorum, honor and integrity reigned supreme. Those are ones are over for US culture. It has been over an by hordes of the outrageous, attention gained through being crass has become more important. Maybe social media has something to do with the desperation for attention, maybe the lack of parenting. Surely there are a lot of reasons.

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-reach ... se-2017-12

"In The History of the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon luridly evokes the Rome of 408 A.D., when the armies of the Goths prepared to descend upon the city.

The marks of imperial decadence appeared not only in grotesque displays of public opulence and waste, but also in the collapse of faith in reason and science.

The people of Rome, Gibbon writes, fell prey to “a puerile superstition” promoted by astrologers and to soothsayers who claimed “to read in the entrails of victims the signs of future greatness and prosperity.”

Would a latter-day Gibbon describe today’s America as “decadent”? I recently heard a prominent, and pro-American, French thinker (who was speaking off the record) say just that.

He was moved to use the word after watching endless news accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets alternate with endless revelations of sexual harassment.

I flinched, perhaps because a Frenchman accusing Americans of decadence seems contrary to the order of nature. And the reaction to Harvey Weinstein et al. is scarcely a sign of hysterical puritanism, as I suppose he was implying.

And yet, the shoe fit. The sensation of creeping rot evoked by that word seems terribly apt.

Perhaps in a democracy the distinctive feature of decadence is not debauchery but terminal self-absorption— the loss of the capacity for collective action, the belief in common purpose, even the acceptance of a common form of reasoning.

We listen to necromancers who prophesy great things while they lead us into disaster. We sneer at the idea of a “public” and hold our fellow citizens in contempt. We think anyone who doesn’t pursue self-interest is a fool.

We cannot blame everything on Donald Trump, much though we might want to. In the decadent stage of the Roman Empire, or of Louis XVI’s France, or the dying days of the Habsburg Empire so brilliantly captured in Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, decadence seeped downward from the rulers to the ruled.

But in a democracy, the process operates reciprocally."


K: yes, you are correct, but are these causes or symptoms?
I don't believe IQ45 is the cause but certainly is a symptom of
something else.....

the problem with the word "decadence" is what exactly is "decadence"?
to what do we compare "decadence" with? to compare some modern idea of "decadence"
with some ancient idea is the moving and changing enviroment of society and culture...
we are different today because of events and our thoughts about those events.....
we are different then the past because of the world wars and the Holocaust
and how we think about those events....

I am old, about to turn 59 and I must say, I see a different America
because of 9/11... I see that as a turning point....we have become something
different because of 9/11..... we are far more fearful and have malaise of
indifference and hatred (such a weird combination to be sure, but that is what I see)
we have lost our nerve, just as Gibbon felt that the Roman's lost their nerve...
the America I grew up in was confident and sure about the future, but the
America I see today is lost and confused... and the blame partly, goes to
the leadership of America... because we no longer see a postive future, we
gravitate to greed and hate and fear because they aren't of the future
and we no longer have a future to look for or aim for... those lower needs,
instincts replace the higher needs of love and peace and charity.....
when you lose hope in the future, you need to replace it with something
and we have lost hope in the future....we are the first generation in American
history that has lost faith in the future...and thus arise the need for
tyrants like IQ45....we are pretty much following the fall of Rome...
from idiotic military campaigns of the three wars, Iraq, Afghanistan and
the pretend war on Terror which is draining us dry... but that is the point...
to weaken us to allow the forces of "evil" to control and dominate us...
to allow the military and governmental forces to dominate us...
and this is following the path of the Roman fall.... I give us maybe,
15 years before America falls into third world terrain... maybe....
if the civil war doesn't begin before that....

the future looks rather bleak... unless we become aware and change..
but that requires some reflection on our part... something we seem to be
incapable of.... I fear for the worse for America.... I am hoping to die
before the shit hits the fan... but we don't always get what we want....

Kropotkin
"Those who sacrifice liberty for security
wind up with neither."
"Ben Franklin"
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Re: The downward spiral of decadence

Postby WendyDarling » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:58 pm

How can an empire not collapse when it is sustained by hollow idealism?
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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