Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I do not read everything of Archdruid easily, but some line of his argument is engaging. There is not much other commentary in that direction. Thus a little more from him:
Spengler was thus contributing to an established tradition, rather than breaking wholly new ground, and there have been important works since his time -- most notably Arnold Toynbee's sprawling A Study of History, twelve weighty volumes packed with evidence and case studies [...] Spengler and Toynbee were both major public figures in their day, as well as bestselling authors whose ideas briefly became part of the common currency of thought in the Western world. They and their work, in turn, were both consigned to oblivion once it stopped being fashionable to think about the points they raised [...]

What makes this disappearance fascinating to me is that very few critics ever made a serious attempt to argue the facts that Spengler and his peers discussed [...]

The second foundation for claims of our uniqueness is, of course, the explosive growth of technology made possible over the last three centuries by the reckless extraction and burning of fossil fuels. It's true that no other civilization has done that, but the differences have had remarkably little impact on the political, cultural, and social trends that shape our lives and the destinies of our communities ...

Arnold Toynbee [...] has pointed out an intriguing difference between the way civilizations rise and the way they fall. On the way up, he noted, each civilization tends to diverge not merely from its neighbors but from all other civilizations throughout history. Its political and religious institutions, its arts and architecture, and all the other details of its daily life take on distinctive forms, so that as it nears maturity, even the briefest glance at one of its creations is often enough to identify its source.

Once the peak is past and the long road down begins, though, that pattern of divergence shifts into reverse, slowly at first, and then with increasing speed. A curious sort of homogenization takes place: distinctive features are lost, and common patterns emerge in their place. That doesn't happen all at once, and different cultural forms lose their distinctive outlines at different rates, but the further down the trajectory of decline and fall a civilization proceeds, the more it resembles every other civilization in decline ...

When it comes to hitting resource limits, it may be hard to be exceptional even for a definite Industrial Revolution.
by das monde on Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 03:09:54 AM EST
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