In my recent “Oh
we of decadent faith!
” I recognized that both individuals and whole
societies can become “decadent”. Let me add now a thought how
developments in societies and in individual lifes are comparable in
general.

Think of society as something with a “feeling” (how it feels to live
in it) and with life conditions, just like an individual. With the
difference that conditions and feeling change much slower than with
individuals, and that effects are much bigger.

Within individual lifes there is something like a “conceit /
depression cycle”, coming from the fact that life conditions influence
the “feeling” (life perception) with a delay in between. This can be
depicted by two sinus graphs, phase-shifted by a quarter of the
wavelength. One graph depicts the subjective condition (feeling / life
perception) which alternates between conceit and depression. And the
other graph depicts the objective condition (quality) of ones life.

This pattern can also be found in societies: from history it appears
that all advanced civilizations eventually
became decadent and then disappeared again; so it seems that there’s an
implicit element in advanced civilization that causes decadence.
Regarding the objective conditions, there is decadence (falling edge)
and revival (rising edge). Regarding the subjective conditions, there
is conceit and depression.

We can even use the model of oscillating systems further. There is a
reason why the cycles in society are so much longer than in personal
lifes. (In the U.S. society, the cycle lenght is approx. 70 years,
which is the gap between revivals; in Germany the cycle length is
probably nearly twice that much, as half of the cycle seems to be
1945-2010.) The cycle lenght of an oscillating system is determined by
its eigen frequency, that’s the characteristic frequency of that
system. If the oscillator is “soft” (long loading time / high
capacity), the cycles get longer; and a society has a much higher
capacity than an individual … .

From this observation now follows a basic receipt how to minimize or
even eliminate decadence at all, both in individual life and societies:
one can minimize the length of the falling edge (“decadence”) by
raising the frequency, i.e. by using harder oscillators. That means
practically to create a more direct coupling between perception and
reality. Because decadence only arises in the case of conceit, i.e. if
an individual or a society does not see the need to care for itself. If
perception would be adequate at all times there would be no oscillation
at all.

Some hints how to create such an adequate perception of one’s
spiritual and material conditions:

  • removing comfort, as comfortable condition make us think
    everything is o.k.
  • removing all kinds of excess, as a store of resources makes it
    possible to live from that when the earnings have long dropped, and
    thus to miss recognizing that
  • make yourself experience the problems that are there, immediately
  • get yourself in a situation that makes you experience yourself as
    you are; a good example is living on an OM ship, as this is an extreme
    situation that triggers ones hidden “qualities”

Start date: 2008-04-08
Post date: 2008-04-15
Version date: 2008-04-15 (for last meaningful change)

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