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To think our society is on the verge of a slow but inevitable collapse?

(82 Posts)
PageStillNotFound404 Tue 02-Aug-16 13:03:27

I'm usually a glass-half-full of gin kind of person but I've been having an increasing number of gloomy thoughts about where we're headed as a society. It feels as though we're losing sight of the things that elevate us and I keep imagining us as being in the same position as other, equally dominant societies shortly before their decline and fall.

I'm thinking in terms of the endless cycles of violence from which we never seem to learn; a rising general distrust of experts and science and evidence (anti-vaxxers etc) leading to outbreaks of diseases that were under control; higher education increasingly seen as important only insofar as it can produce graduates as economic units, rather than the value of learning for its own sake; the funding of things such as libraries, galleries, museums dropping further down the priority list; the tacitly state-sanctioned dehumanisation of those perceived as somehow "lesser", be that because of race, disability, poverty or whatever; climate change and an energy crisis with no real solutions...put it all together and it feels very bleak and End-of-Dayish.

Of course I can see that good things happen too, and also understand on an individual level that whether your local art gallery stays open or is sold off for flats is of little significance when you only ever pass it on the way to the food bank, but at a broader, society level it matters...doesn't it? And I'm not suggesting we're two days from anarchy on the streets and the entire collapse of civilisation overnight, but then all the dinosaurs didn't die on the same day. It just feels like this is the end of a cycle.

Destinysdaughter Tue 02-Aug-16 13:11:55

I know what you're saying OP, I've been feeling pretty despairing about the state of both the UK and the world in general recently.

The world is becoming more of an unequal place, parts are very unstable, the recent terrorist attacks are terrifying and there seems to be a lack of compassion or unifying values. And if Trump gets it, God helps us all!

What to do about it, I genuinely don't know, I feel v hopeless and helpless about it as an individual. Want to go and find a little independent community to go live in and shut the rest of the world out!

PageStillNotFound404 Tue 02-Aug-16 13:15:56

I've tried doing small things, Destinys but it feels a bit like whistling into the wind at times. Better than doing nothing at all, I guess.

I like the idea of a little off-grid commune somewhere - if I were slightly more self-sufficient/useful at practical stuff!

absolutemug Tue 02-Aug-16 13:18:12

The world goes through turbulent times and right now it's hard going. However imagine yourself in something like the Tudor times. Beheadings a regular thing, churches ransacked, people who spoke out locked on towers, any wealth taken from you, corruption everywhere, the plague, shit floating down the streets etc Yes some of these things are still around but on a much more minimal scale.

Destinysdaughter Tue 02-Aug-16 13:19:27

I feel it's genuinely affecting my mental health. Every week there's something else utterly horrendous happening with no end in sight. The 90s feel like a golden age in comparison!

Destinysdaughter Tue 02-Aug-16 13:20:50

absolute I know what you're saying but in terms of progress I feel like we're going backwards right now.

Destinysdaughter Tue 02-Aug-16 13:23:25

For example, race relations seemed to be getting better in the UK but the continuous scapegoating of immigrants has caused a worrying rise in hate crimes to all ethnic and religious communities.

StrawberryQuik Tue 02-Aug-16 13:25:09

I think history goes in little cycles of progress, decline, progress, decline and underneath there is a much slower steady slope of progress.

I can't remember if this is a proper theory I learnt at university or if I just made it up blush

PinkyPlumet Tue 02-Aug-16 13:27:46

Strawberry I completely agree.

absolutemug Tue 02-Aug-16 13:29:53

You are right there Destiny. However all we can do is be a positive influence. Pull people up on racism and detrimental views. Try to remain positive. I do see good everywhere still despite the rubbish too. Always look for the good. It IS there. For example last weekend I saw complete love at a wedding. A family (not my own) full of love as well as the bride and groom's love. I saw the bride's niece cry with happiness watching her aunty get married .
Today I saw a child (about 10) give up her seat for a man with a limp. She didn't need asked or reminded to do it. She just did. Good is out there.

Terrorism etc is around more but that sort of thing is still infrequent compared to the good things.

LurkingHusband Tue 02-Aug-16 13:36:16

Ever read "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" ?

Generally, empires (and we still live in an age of empire) have a cyclical quality, when viewed across centuries.

Also, generally, people don't comprehend they are part of a continuum of history, but have this arrogant and dangerous belief that they are somehow "special" and protected from the consequences of their actions. (Remember the old adage that teenagers in the 1960s thought they invented sex ?).

in terms of progress I feel like we're going backwards right now.

Now this I can agree with. And it's in odd little things. Average speed of traffic in London (now slower than 1916).

20 years ago you could fly to the US in 4 hours. Now it's 8.

Homeowning decreasing.

Reversals in the fall in drink-driving (because new generations haven't been subject to the education previous ones have).

A horrid resurgence in casual racism.

A horrid resurgence in casual misogyny ... (our DS saying certain subjects are "for girls" - which goes against all I grew up with. And no - he didn't learn that from us sad).

But then look at the advances ! X-Factor. CBB. IACGMOOH. Geordie Shore. TOWIE. Donald Trump.

Shit, now I'm depressed again.

littleprincesssara Tue 02-Aug-16 13:40:53

Statistically there is a lot less violence and war now than there was throughout most of human history.

Everything we're going through now, we have been through a million times before. There is nothing new under the sun. All we can do is hope to slowly become more evolved as human beings.

PageStillNotFound404 Tue 02-Aug-16 13:46:50

Yes, those examples of reversal/regression illustrate the way I've been thinking, Lurking.

LoreleiGilmoreIsMyBFF Tue 02-Aug-16 13:52:28

I sometimes fantasy about life in an off-grid commune; I suggest watching the movie 'Together' to reassure yourself that even these communities have their problems! (Although I do love the film)

megletthesecond Tue 02-Aug-16 13:54:50

lurk I'm clinging on to hope unless Trump wins.

My inner prepper is a tad more vocal these days tbh.

Destinysdaughter Tue 02-Aug-16 13:55:24

The amount of below the line misogyny you see in places like The Guardian articles, rape threats on social media etc is horrifying to me. Makes me sad and scared that this is how so many men really view women.

Also there are so many genuine problems in the world that we need to be working together to solve but it seems like the opposite is happening resulting in far right ideas becoming acceptable.

I wonder how it will all end...

LurkingHusband Tue 02-Aug-16 13:55:58

Statistically there is a lot less violence and war now than there was throughout most of human history.

Depends whose history.

Generally we have no idea what life was like in civilisations where writing wasn't practiced. How about life amongst the Beaker people ? It may have been paradise lost. How about life in Africa before the Europeans arrived ?

True, in recent times (e.g 400,500 years) it seems there is less violence and war. But beware (a) selective reporting, and (b) vested interests. For example it certainly suits the Christian agenda to suggest that spreading Christianity has also spread love and happiness - the old canard of civilised Europeans taming savages of Victorian derring-do. But given most native Americans would probably agree they were better off before the Europeans "civilised" them, it's very much a partisan view.

Also, it's debatable as to the positives of living to a ripe old age, if all it does is give more exotic cancers and diseases a chance to emerge against a society that hasn't learned to accept that yet (i.e. ours).

Destinysdaughter Tue 02-Aug-16 13:56:35

Oh 'Together' is a brilliant film! 😀

LoreleiGilmoreIsMyBFF Tue 02-Aug-16 13:58:49

Lorelei Gilmore is no longer my BFF. It's Destiny'sDaughter! Might have to watch it again tonight!

GarlicMistake Tue 02-Aug-16 14:12:32

Yeah, Page, I feel the same way. I do what little I can. It isn't enough to make a difference.

I've skimmed through PPs' replies, but am currently agreeing too much with you all and it's getting harder to fend off the mental health crashes that come with realising this isn't mental illness, it's rational assessment!

Placemarking for when I can have a stiff drink with the topic wink

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 02-Aug-16 14:18:16


This is almost certainly going to be viewed, in the future, as a period of decline. The only question is how severely judged this era will be.

RufusTheReindeer Tue 02-Aug-16 14:22:59

I agree

I was saying to dh the other day that go back a few days and it was

Not been able to save for a pension and now have an impoverished old age the country will help you

Single mum to three and struggling to find a job, the country will help you

Left school with no qualifications and a drug habit, the country will help you

Now its all

No money for a pension, thats your fault, fuck you

Three kids and no man, thats your fault, fuck you

No qualifications and no job, thats your fault, fuck you

And i am not saying that the country always helped, but there wasnt this shitty attitude from "normal" people

We are going to end up like america, with no health cover and 90 year olds packing your bags in tesco

RufusTheReindeer Tue 02-Aug-16 14:23:23

Years ago...not days ago

LoreleiGilmoreIsMyBFF Tue 02-Aug-16 14:35:22

I try to comfort myself with the idea that the news always prefers shock value and horror over basic humans acts of kindness (and then get depressed when what should be basic human acts of kindness go viral on the internet because people seem to be shocked at kindness nowadays).

LurkingHusband Tue 02-Aug-16 14:36:41

I sometimes fantasy about life in an off-grid commune;

They (and all the "preppers") would last as long as it took for something steel or iron to break, and they realise they haven't a fucking clue as to how to smelt iron, sow and reap crops, make clothes, handle wood, manage domestic animals, hunt ...

For various reasons I doubt it will ever be repeated, but any off-gridders could do worse than see what happened when people did try it, in the 1970s

if a bunch of average 21st century hipsters were dumped in the middle of nowhere, they'd be pre-bronze age (i.e. stone age) inside a month. Getting a decent cafe macchiatolattecino would be the least of their worries.

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