Thursday, May 13, 2004

When a Civilization Collapses

According to Morris Berman (The Twilight of American Culture, Norton, 2000, p. 19),

. . . four factors are present when a civilization collapses:
(a) Accelerating social and economic inequality
(b) Declining marginal returns with regard to investment in organizational solutions to socioeconomic problems
(c) Rapidly dropping levels of literacy, critical understanding,and general intellectual awareness
(d) Spiritual death -- that is, Spengler's classicism: the emptying out of cultural content and the freezing (or repackaging) of it in formulas -- kitsch, in short.