How long is long?

There have been a series of powerful events lately that have their origins in very early history. These same events have replayed themselves many times, in different places, with different incidents and actors, but the underlying reasons have not changed since they were first accepted many hundreds of years ago. We remember the great thinkers, orators and philosophers because they said what we wanted to hear, set the tone for our societies, and laid out the ground rules for how governance would be managed, and although such matters have become very sophisticated of late, they are still cast in the same old mould.
It wasn’t a case of privilege that Greek and Latin were taught in the ‘best’ of schools, but one of philosophy; as the thinkers of old said so did future generations plan to follow. Indeed templates on which to build civilisations have always been based on the words and actions of significant people. I won’t say great, for indeed many were not in the least so, but they played their part and the consequences were what they were.
The process has been repeated several times since the days of the Ancient Greeks, complete with excited beginnings, fulsome glory years and distraught collapse and disintegration, when the core premises could no longer sustain themselves. I’m talking about socio-political and economic patterning, which as day follows night, can be picked out of the historical record and read like a candle chart on the stock market: up, up, up, hold it, hold it, then down, down, down to a balance point which will have significance for all future action.

In the simplest form the Greek civilisation blossomed and failed, and it took about three hundred years before the next pattern became evident. The Romans did the same, and after their demise, it was almost nine hundred years before the next model began to manifest. These downturns were very important; they were rest periods, time for old ideas to fade out of existence and make room for what was new and healthy.
The British and European empires flourished and failed in their turn, but this time no real decline occurred, no respite was taken, because the New World had been discovered, and the settlers, with huge enthusiasm and hope, set out to build the Americas with the badly tattered philosophical ideas of Europe still stuck in their heads.
The concern here is not about what did go on, but what didn’t happen. The missed opportunity for renewal, often referred to as a Dark Age, or the in-turning of entire nations to discover new reasons and strength of thinking to carry them forward, was left in abeyance.
There are questions here: Is the missed downturn still waiting to happen? Has its absence negatively affected the strength of the societal pattern in the Americas? What will be the source of fresh, new ideas that we can use to dispel the black cloud that seems to be coming up on the horizon?


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