Sunday, October 19, 2008

Prompt 5

There most definitely are patterns in the rise and decline of world powers. I think the largest factor is the dynamic fluctuations in human ethics and values, and the changes in human lifestyle that must accompany said fluctuations. Governments and religions are attempts to set ethical guidelines that the majority of people already abide by to improve the overall quality of life of humans(i.e. not killing others, not stealing, monogamous relationships). These values are guidelines designed to allow humans to function more efficiently as a group, and thus combine efforts more efficiently for the benefit of more people. The problem occurs when the opinion of the majority of people moves away from the guidelines of the government, or the practices of the government violate the ethics of the majority. Then stagnation and decline occurs, as the government/religion becomes more and more useless to the majority of people. The actions of the people begin to be guided less and less by the guidelines set by the government and more and more by their own, self-motivated, values and ethics. Eventually, when virtually no one follows the guidelines, the establishment collapses and the process of building a government/religion that is most beneficial to the majority begins again.
In summary, governments and religions rely on the support of people, so they represent values that people support. Thus, the people will uphold the establishment (picture a lot of people holding up a large building). But, with time, the values of people change (people holding the building are walking). If governments/religions attempt to uphold the same (old) values, slowly people holding the structure of the establishment up will leave (people walking begin to walk out from under the structure). With too little support, eventually the establishment collapses (the very few people who didn't walk fast enough: their knees buckle under the weight). Often a lot of the people still holding it up are killed (SQUISH).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a very compellng and interesting point of view. I think this could explain most of the rise and decline of world powers especially more toward modern world powers. But what about Spain? I think Spain collapsed because "the people" were unwilling to move. So the decline of Spain wasn't caused by the unharmony of moving people and stagnant government but by the whole country being "unmoved."