11 February 2012

Paragraphs to Ponder

From Heartiste:

Chew on that. Realize what is being said here. If you do, you should feel a shudder descend your spine. Individualism and freedom of thought are the enemies of the very values and morality which gave birth to them and elevated them to primacy among advanced nations.
What libertarian, conservative OR liberal could read and accept the above premise and not feel at least some elemental — some PRIMAL — part of his worldview shatter into a million pieces. Libertarians: laissez faire means the cementing of intractable human hereditary differences into antagonistic classes and milieus. Conservatives: freedom and prosperity mean a slackening of external behavioral motivators and the erosion of commonality and shared values and the means with which to argue for them. Liberals: nonjudgmental individualism means a collapse of social capital and a surrender of any moral or aesthetic authority.
None of this is to say that people would, or should, prefer to live in less prosperous, backward nations. I don’t see too many Westerners clamoring to move to Zimbabwe for the quality of life. And yet, there has to be a recognition among the cognoscenti that a deeply embedded human nature exists, and that this nature — immutable, unalterable, suppressed only with great effort — when allowed to fully express or, alternately, when stifled at great psychic expense guarantees the slow unwinding of the very prosperity it desires and refuses to relinquish when it achieves.

The Lion King was right:  It’s the circle of life.  Prosperity sows the seeds of decline.  Decline sows the seeds of destruction.  Destruction sows the seeds of prosperity.  Ad infinitum.

Humanity is never content.  This lack of contentment is a double-edged sword which kills and by which one is killed.  Man’s lack of contentment causes him to pursue new ideas, in the hope of increasing prosperity.  Man will try freedom until it fails to produce the desired results, or produce the desired results fast enough.  Then man will slavery, until that fails to produce the desired results, or produce the desired results fast enough. Man will always oscillate between the two, believing that the grass is always greener on the other side.

Strangely enough, the grass is always greener, until it’s over-consumed.  And so, having razed one field, man will go back to the other, in search of greener pastures to raze again. Back and forth, back and forth, man always swings between two extremes, never content, always experimenting.  This is why man succeeds and, paradoxically, why he fails.

Because man is never content, man must always try new solutions to the problems that continuously plague man.  Sometimes humanity’s lot will improve; sometimes humanity’s lot will decline.  At this point, humanity is poised to decline.


  1. Nice post.
    It brings back into my mind the memory of Sophocles' "What a wonder is man", in one of the choral odes of "Oedipus Tyrannus", I think.
    One or two personal observations : when I do my housework, I think about the.. truth ? that after finishing my work, I will have to repeat it very shortly.
    Same with weeding in my garden.
    When I have finished, I know that in a few weeks time, there will be NEW GROWTH there that I will have to deal with.
    One could call this the evidence that what I call "nature" is an irresistable force that opposes man's desire to definitively control it. That everything grows, and decays, and man being a part of this "everything", what he in turn produces is also subject to growth and decay, which HE cannot control.
    And on the "grass is always greener on the other side", I happened to walk past my local horse population a month ago, and saw, in the field, a horse grazing... on the other side of the fence.
    Neat, huh ? ;-)

  2. Humanity is never content. This lack of contentment is a double-edged sword which kills and by which one is killed.

    As Augustine said, "My heart is restless, O God, until it rests in Thee."

  3. A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

    Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.

    Attributed to Alexander Tytler, late 18th century Scottish historian.

    We are Rome, and the barbarians are already within.