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Sunday, 26 April 2015

I stood among the ruins of European civilisation ...

I stood among the ruins of European civilisation and marvelled at its achievements for the remnants of these were all about me. I was impressed, for a moment, until I realised that I was standing among what was left of that which, I imagined, its citizens believed would last forever. “What could possibly go wrong?” they must have thought, at least those few willing to partake in such self-reflection, “for we are militarily powerful and economically successful, and we lead such a good life, which the rest of the world …”

Such thoughts, perhaps, run through the minds of all those who find themselves living the good life as a result of military and economic might (for the two go together), and who use scientific, engineering and technological achievements to construct for themselves a world of power and riches (for the two go together). How easy it must have been for the vainglorious inhabitants of this European civilisation to think that the future would be a continuation of the past, only better, with more riches and the higher standard of living that goes with this. Yet I stood among the ruins of their civilisation.

As I stood there I realised that I was viewing the achievements of arrogant peoples with an over inflated opinion of themselves, who, in true European style, lived life like a plague of locusts and made of this a virtue. These people were aggressive, violent and warlike. They conquered others, enslaved people, and took for themselves that which did not belong to them. And those who opposed were crushed. Resistance was not tolerated. And this is how it was for many centuries, until, with the barbarians at the gate and society falling apart, it eventually all came to an end – as do all civilisations.

Why people of the modern world think that their fate will be any different to that of other civilisations that have risen and then fallen is no mystery. Like the Ancient Romans to whom I refer to above, the fate of the Western world will be as it has been for other past civilisations, for the seeds of destruction are sown by actions that are grounded in the animalistic behaviour that is ever present. Only by choosing to walk a different path will Europe and the West survive. The barbarians are already at the gate. Society is becoming dysfunctional as more people pursue the acquisition of money and material gains. And people are retreating into familiar and destructive patterns of behaviour as they seek to reduce the bewildering complexity of life to simple views that encourage extremism (e.g. Dawkinism based on scientific ideology and dogma, or UKIP political dogma based on classification and exclusion).

Like the Ancient Romans, the modern European, those of the Western world, think highly of the Ancient Greeks. Why this is so makes no sense, for these people, like the Ancient Romans, created a barbarous way of living, which was not that different to the so-called barbarians found elsewhere – barbarity with fine clothes and a face of learning one might say.

As for modern Europeans, they are also in many respects no different – being somewhat like Ancient Greeks wearing modern clothes, who should be seen not in a binary way, e.g. in comparison with modern barbarians such as Islamic State, but as potentially, people capable of the same atrocities – all it takes are the right circumstances, as is evident from the example of Nazi Germany. And one of the surest ways that will lead to a repeat of this is through science and reason, for many adherents of this dogma have already lost sight of reason (e.g. Richard Dawkins).

Now more than ever we need a different approach and this means dealing with extreme ideologies like – capitalism, Dawkinism, neo-Darwinism, Western secular fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism, scientific extremism, communism … The list is long for many are the simple sole truths where people find refuge.

Now is the time for The Tao and about this I will have more to say in the future.

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