Round and round we go. The ebb and flow of all things. Existence is but a continuous cycle of birth, growth, decay and death. It’s the ultimate nature of the universe. So it is also with societies.
We classify society according to two standards–from a political standpoint and our survival. By survival I mean how evolved our technology is for supporting our means to live. But, when is it too much? When is having our basic needs met not enough? Can we stop the downward spiral of taking from the universe and not putting back? Are we even able to realize which part of the cycle we are in? Or worse yet, we are so conceited as to believe no cycle exists for our society?
We are all as individuals very limited, therefore, a society of one just simply cannot exist. Sure a man can feed himself and if he has a mate and children, maybe he can feed all of them, too, maybe not. So as humans our great strength comes from our ability to work together and share each others burdens helping each other out in each others times of hardships. This pooling together is beneficial to everyone involved in the collaborative effort which we call a society. In time our population grows and so do the means in which we use to survive. We grow and hopefully thrive until we reach a point of not just surviving but of having the time and means to pursue more interests than just that of surviving. The quality of our lives have improved and we can posit for ourselves new and different life directions. As a result of our desire and eagerness to experience other things more than just survival, we tend to seek assistance from any source that we can get. Some people would look for low interest personal loan to buy a more convenient home, car or for educational purposes.
At this point we have also formed more complicated political ties and structures within our own group as well as reaching out to other societies. We have learned from our own history as well as made it a point to learn the history and culture of other societies, absorbing them liberally, so as to better our own society. Contrary to popular belief, we grow as individuals as a result of our society’s growth, not as individuals first. It hurts our egos, but it’s true. We are born into the state and as a consequence the will, maturity, hope and success ( as well as failure) of a people lie in the hands of the state. It’s not like the state is responsible for each and every person and their actions but, the state is to its people as a parent is to a child. We have been born and have grown as a collective unit.
Now what of decay and death? Inevitably those two must also come, however, their arises a problem–vanity. When any society is at the height of its growth, it forgets the struggles of its predecessors and all they endured to ensure their children would not have to endure that same pain. Instead it feels entitled and special, like they deserve to have it all just because they are who they are. Conceited? Although not true, it is understandable. The ones before us, so determined to shelter us from their hurts, fail to educate us on the importance of what they went through. We get comfortable and do nothing to maintain what they set forth. Then that good thing turns in on itself. Society incurs its debt the same way selfish individuals incur their debt with money lenders: living beyond their means. Once a society can no longer tell the difference between what it needs for survival and what it thinks it must have for survival its demise is shortly on its way.
The line has been crossed. Although in most cases society usually realizes it far too late to recover because its most valuable resources have been used in vain endeavors. Cannot this can be avoided? If societies learned to manage their resources in a more balanced way, it can be. The mark of a decadent society is its vanity: pointless legal, economic, social, and political distractions. When the unobtainable and impractical are taught to be pursued; when citizens become disruptive and divisive on almost everything; and no agreement can be reached on even what constitutes the basic necessities of life–then you have what I like to call the Vanity of a Decadent Society.