Death of an Empire

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                                                                                          Death of an Empire

“it’s impossible to solve a problem with the same thinking that created it”. Albert Einstein

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”Aldous Huxley

In his 1976 essay The Fate of Empires, General Sir John Glubb analyzed the life cycles of civilizations. He found remarkable similarities between them all. Most have lasted around 250 years, ten generations or so, and each has passed through clearly identifiable stages. Glubb calls these the six ages of empire.

Every new empire begins with the age of the pioneers, courageous individuals with passion and vision who conquer new territories, perhaps taking over the remnants of an earlier collapsed civilization. The new empire then enters an age of commerce. Great wealth is created through enterprise and trade, making use of the best cultural traits and technological achievements of the vanquished empire. Next comes the age of affluence, a critical juncture in the life cycle of an empire and the time when things begin to go wrong. In the age of affluence, Glubb says, “there does not appear to be any doubt that money is the agent which causes the decline of this strong, brave and self-confident people.”

Decline occurs slowly, however, for next comes the age of intellect, when affluence is sufficient to allow some people to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of knowledge. Glubb argues that an excessive focus on intellect indicates an empire already in serious trouble. This may feel counter-intuitive, but evidence suggests that our own age of intellect has done little to prevent a headlong descent into the final age: the age of decadence.

Debauchery is another recurring theme at the end of empire. Society develops a strangely immature obsession with sex. People drink themselves to the point of unconsciousness and shamelessly collapse in the street. In Roman times, binge drinkers were left to their fate. Today’s debauchery is supervised by the police; its ‘victims’ are taken care of by hard-pressed health care professionals, placing further pressure on the public purse. And, all the while, supermarkets and corporations make a killing selling discounted booze to people barely old enough to buy it. This is our modern-day bread and circuses, (The government kept the Roman populace happy by distributing free food and staging huge spectacles).with obese citizens literally becoming a burden on the state.

At this point in the life cycle of an empire frivolity, as Glubb calls it, comes to the fore. In order to distract people from what’s really going on, the economy creates diversions. Voyeurism becomes central to culture: the gladiatorial spectacles in decadent Rome are mirrored in today’s obsession with sports, and reality television. People become fixated on celebrity as the genuinely noteworthty become understandably camera shy. These invented celebrities are ‘famous’ just for being famous. In every era the obsession with celebrity glorifies many of the same professions. During the final decades of their own empires, the Romans, the Ottomans and the Spanish all made celebrities of their chefs. Sound familiar?

As British political thinker Phillip Blond says, “What’s really suffered is human relationships, family life, the things that really matter to us. In the end the only thing that makes human beings happy isn’t money – it is very clear that past a certain level you only get marginal gains from wealth. What really makes us happy is other people. It is our relationship with other people that’s really been damaged by the last forty years.”

195:9.2 But paganized and socialized Christianity stands in need of new contact with the uncompromised teachings of Jesus; it languishes for lack of a new vision of the Master's life on earth. A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism. Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment.

195:9.4 Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus' religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world.

Rickey H. Crosby (Petitor Veritatis)