The Eight Stages of the Rise & Fall of Civilizations

Okay, remember when I said this earlier in the Reasons to Survive thread?

"For the most part, I don't believe that we will nor actually can, change the trajectory of a society that is collapsing (my opinion based on others' observations of historic civilizations/societies in the past). The signs & trajectory were there way before Covid was recognized, and both major countries in this continent (and maybe some old world countries...I haven't put a lot of thought into those, tbh), are following this same path, fulfilling the same things observed, step by step."

I finally rediscovered the interesting link that I based those thoughts on (among other sources), the fact that everything is ever changing and pretty much everything is cyclical (ooh, what a word! lol). I found this link long before Covid hit.

This particular link is from a religious writer's point of view (my disclaimer: his beliefs may or may not be like mine...I didn't reread anything except the main points and honestly don't remember), however, my point is that I found his take on Scottish philosopher, Alexander Tyler of the University of Edinburg's, observations interesting and something to be watching for. This philosopher was a man who studied many past civilizations and came up with these conclusions. I had never heard of this Scottish philosopher before. Keep in mind, it is said that this he was said to be not religious, and to me, that makes these observations all the more interesting.

First, an excerpt from the link:

"Sociologists and anthropologists have described the stages of the rise and fall of the world’s great civilizations. Scottish philosopher Alexander Tyler of the University of Edinburg noted eight stages that articulate well what history discloses. I first encountered these in Ted Flynn’s book The Great Transformation*. They provide a great deal of perspective to what we are currently experiencing."

*italics mine

I thought I would post this because it may be of interest, considering where we are currently finding ourselves.


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    I'm looking forward to reading this tomorrow - thanks!

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't think all is lost just yet. I do agree that at least in the US there are/were a lot of apathetic people enjoying all their abundance.

    BUT I see more and more people waking up to what is happening. I see more and more people realizing that our freedoms are being taken from us. There are millions of Patriots who have come out to these past two weekends supporting America, our Constitution, and the American Dream. I don't think the US will fall. Of course I could be wrong in which case it won't happen without a long hard fight because the silent majority is not silent any longer.

    I've also seen people in many countries out in mass making their voices heard as well.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin
    edited November 2020

    @kbmbillups1 I certainly do hope you are right. Although up here in Canada, we are seeing some odd things start to develop thanks to our federal govt. (or so it appears) and anything against the status quo is being squashed (and heavily fined) if possible. That said, there are some opposing certain things.

    Hopefully it is all nothing in the end, but it does make an observant person take notice.

    Our province (being labelled as having the most cases) is certainly interesting at this point.

    You bet we are watching south of the border. I think all Canadians & the world are.

    An interesting fact...did you know that Canada's population is slightly less than the population of California? In light of that, I just roll my eyes when I read stories about how Canada is bullying the US (I have read that a few times). It is like a mouse & an elephant, kind of ridiculous. Sigh. Oh well.

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    What is the legality of fines? Have they passed a law or a mandate? I guess it varies by province? I'm a bit out of touch. My friend was rather distraught about it all. We went through this months ago. By now most people have figured out it's all a scam.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin
    edited November 2020

    @Sharie It does vary by province. Ours is now considered the hardest hit & they say on the brink of out of control if is not we have the toughest everything in Canada at this point. We are under red/critical.

    Right now, they have many people, not just police officers, who have been given authority to charge people. For not wearing a mask in an indoor public space, it is approximately $300. If you are a part of a public gathering, it is almost $1300 per person. If you are a business that is breaching rules (allowing people in without masks or having too many people in your space), it is $5000, but I have read about higher fines yet for businesses.

    Now, we are not to meet with anyone outside of our immediate dwelling. A fine can result if snitched on or caught otherwise. This last lockdown started on the 12th and runs for a minimum of 1 month. A single person can choose a single person and only those two can visit inside a dwelling...but with nobody else. Shopping is 1 person/family, no nonessential shopping (toys, Christmas decorations...that sort of thing). Food, appliances and a few other things are allowed.

    They do say that their fines are "enforceable under law".

    These are the general things happening that everyone has just come to expect by now. There is more that I have observed that I won't discuss publically on the forum. I am waiting those things out to see what the end result will be. Those are the things I am most concerned about.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    (ummm...former professional historian here, retired from the university two years back...have vague unhappy memories of reading something or other by Tytler under duress loooong ago in graduate historiography....) ....this is Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (that title was the one thing i liked about him....), active in the late 1700's/start of the 1800's. University of Edinburgh, back in the day when it was one of the world's great universities, a famous center for medical research and also philosophy.

    Tytler lived through the American and French revolutions. Like most people of his class he feared the plague of revolution would spread to Britain, and spent a good part of his career trying to understand what was going on in his day by looking at what happened in ancient Athens and Rome....or at least what scholars of his day thought had happened, from what they knew or assumed about it back then.

    His eight stages thing comes out of his major work, Elements of General History, if I remember rightly. The point was to prove that only monarchies are stable, democracies are inherently unstable and inevitably collapse, so obviously we don't want those crazy American and French revolutionaries spreading their ideas in Britain. After all, common folk have way too much say in democracies, and as he and most any educated gentleman of his day were happy to tell you, the common folk are ignorant, irrational, lazy, smelly, crude, prefer demagogues and mob rule to good government, and are entirely incapable of knowing what's best for themselves, much less the country. (The eight stages have been reworked, re-interpreted, and the pointed reflections on common folk and democracy vs. monarchy toned down or cut out in this article to make them more applicable to the writer's view of the present.)

    That said, this re-worked version of the eight stages is interesting, and offers much to think about. There do seem to be general patterns in human behavior, as individuals and as societies, that appear to recur, more or less, over time. Certainly we seek out patterns in order to make sense of what is going on around us. Exactly what those patterns are will always be open to debate though, because they depend as much or more on our perception and perspective as on objective fact.

    For sure, the only thing that goes on forever is change. In Nature change is generally cyclical, so we expect and usually perceive change in human societies as cyclical as well. But it's never exactly the same. The tree that just shed its leaves will likely grow new leaves in the spring--they will be very similar, but they won't be the same leaves. If I give the tree a bit of love, care and compost, it might well come back with more, stronger, and more beautiful leaves than it had last season. I can't change the overall cycle, but I can make a difference in my little part of it.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin
    edited November 2020

    @MaryRowe Wow! Thanks for your insight. Sorry to dredge up the unhappy memories. 😬 Sometimes they should be happily forgotten. Haha! I admittedly have never read the book (under duress nor otherwise), but it is interesting to learn more information from a knowledgeable source of the source. 😉

    Making change in our little circle is important. As we are able, we are still continuing to work on that at "home". 🙂 It does give us hope of good things to come.

    I think TGN is doing a pretty good job of that as well, encouraging everyone to be more self sufficient.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Definitely something to think about. There is the saying about those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Hopefully enough people take notice and that "not all is lost yet"

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I think TGN is exactly the kind of thing the whole world needs right now.

    It's the encouragement to learn and grow, and thus stay positive and make positive change, as individuals. It's also a way to build community--about the only way we can right now! With so much going on in the world to frighten, divide, undermine us these days, it is more important than ever to have TGN help us recognize and take control of what we can control, and commit to coming together in friendship and mutual respect as a community working together in whatever way we can.

  • Slippy
    Slippy Posts: 117 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2020

    I firmly believe that the Founders of These United States of America had created the best architectural plan for government ever created... A Constitutional Representative Republic with great limits placed on government. The Freedoms/Liberties and Inalienable Rights spelled out for We The People provided a road map for prosperity unlike any other government ever created...

    But alas, as Ben Franklin said when asked what type of government the Founders had created, "Its a Republic...if you can keep it!" And sadly, we have not kept it!

    (Rant Started) In the 43+ years of having my earned wealth extorted and confiscated by government, (taxes). I can honestly say that government has provided me with little or nothing in personal return on my investment. Government has largely been an impediment and a comedy of errors of inefficiency, waste, fraud and over-reach. (Rant Over)

    Back to another glass of wine! 😀

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    I just saw this from a friend of mine who was forced to get to know the law quite well due to a nasty, lying ex who tried to steal his kids:

    In Canadian constitutional law, the doctrine of paramountcy establishes that where there is a conflict between valid provincial and federal laws, the federal law will prevail and the provincial law will be inoperative to the extent that it conflicts with the federal law.

    Canadian constitutional law is the area of Canadian law relating to the interpretation and application of the Constitution of Canada by the courts. All laws of Canada, both provincial and federal, must conform to the Constitution and any laws inconsistent with the Constitution have no force or effect.

    This means that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prevails over any provincial legislation, such as the Provincial Heath Act.

    Meaning the Provincial Chief Medical Officer, or any Premier CANNOT enforce their draconian order regarding MASKS.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    Thanks @Sharie!

    That just reinforced what we understood to be our rights as Mennonites in Canada to direct our children's education without interference nor coersion, with a treaty that was made, by some very wise men on behalf of the people with the federal govt., just before the people came over. These men were representatives of people that had freedoms trampled and their people murdered in the country, both done by the govt. that they were fleeing (Russia). I have a copy of this original document from an historical archive.

    We knew we had those rights protected, even though education is now provincial responsibility. This is part of the agreement along with the right to be a conscientious objector (not go to war or to be part of a jury) & the right to practice our beliefs.

    There are hints of these rights if you observe what they let the Mennonite schools do that others cannot. But, they don't let that be known in the greater population because it gives the Mennonites special privileges and the power to oppose certain things.

    So...this said way more to us than you realized, especially as homeschoolers. Very interesting.

    It would be really great to see exactly where this sits & how it is worded in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I have a copy. We will have to look.

    Thanks again!

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    I remember from AP World History that Civilizations are like an animal. They either eat and continue to grow or they die. Current globalization does conflict with this, but at the end of the day somebody steps on another to give themselves more power.

    Also an interesting fact is that the Mongolian Empire was the one civilization that was never conquered. They technically just merged with the conquered population and faded away (this is why 1 out of 200 people are a descendent of Genghis Khan).

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 369 ✭✭✭

    I am like some others on this string that are not quite sure if we as a society are going to collapse or not. Free will has a way of changing the outcome of the future.

    I do believe that we, in America, got "fat and happy (literally for most...)." Which definitely led to complacency. But, our biggest push to our purposed downfall is that we have outgrown our resources (food, money, water, etc).

    I have also come to the conclusion that human beings do not learn from the past due to our egocentric beliefs!

  • flowerpower *
    flowerpower * Posts: 257 ✭✭✭

    @Shairie I had the sobering realization that PHO is pronounced like "foe" in English. :( Sad moment.

  • flowerpower *
    flowerpower * Posts: 257 ✭✭✭

    (in BC) whenever my doctor has been frightened and passed the pain on to me it was because some scrutiner above her, applied pressure, she must "toe the line", not order certain tests. She would be quite abusive to me in those circumstances. I came to see the "medical insurance" authorities as holding undue influence over the doctors, and ultimately the life and death of myself and those I hold dear. What tests must not be ordered? Those allowing preventative medicine, healing instead of lucrative sickness management, followed by suffering and death.

    I do not see the death of our democratic North American culture as necessary or inevitable. but we need some house cleaning.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin
    edited November 2020

    @judsoncarroll4 Did you ever get to reading this article?

    @Memfourshort Welcome here! I agree, Stage 8 is looking pretty current/familiar...

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Indeed, "We are in a tailspin we don’t we seem to be able to pull ourselves out of. Greed, aversion to sacrifice, secularism, divorce, promiscuity, and the destruction of the most basic unit of civilization (the family), do not make for a healthy culture."

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe You are my HERO OF THE DAY! I don't want to be covered with dread before I rest my head for the night and found hope/comfort in your words. Yes, I care about the world and try not to use many resources, but I can't live in the negative, so try to tend to my little part of the world and stay positive that what I do will help even as many leave the tap on while brushing their teeth.

    I picture the world like an orange with that green colored mold on it. We are the mold reaching for every last bit of goodness. Eventually, the orange will be covered and there is nothing left and the various fungi/mold fight each other. We must reduce our wants, work together, care about each other if there is to be anything left to share.

  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Posts: 404 ✭✭✭

    From the article: "Suffering of any sort seems intolerable. But virtue is not seen as the solution. Having lived on the sacrifices of others for years, the civilization now insists that “others” must solve their woes."

    Not sure I have much to add to this, but it seemed worth highlighting. We live in a culture where any slight hint of suffering is seen as the ultimate evil, instead of seeing suffering as possibly a challenge to overcome, a sacrifice to make, or a path towards growth.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great music video. It was such a poignant statement on how many cultures are losing their values and identity in this modern world.

  • Acequiamadre
    Acequiamadre Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    @Cornelius Have you read the book Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. It's fascinating.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I highly recommend _The Fall of Rome_ by Bryan Ward-Perkins. He looks in detail at the effect of the barbarian invasions in the fifth century, and the impact they had on Roman civilization.

    His goal is clearly to debunk the myth that the Roman Empire smoothly evolved into a new form with new Germanic rulers with little impact on average people.

    One of the most interesting chapters is called "The Death of a Civilization?" and looks closely at the disappearance of tiles roofs, pottery mass-produced on a wheel, and the size of cows. Archeological findings of domestic cow bones show tath cows were smaller in the Iron Age before the Roman Empire, then increased in height by about 5 cm, then decreased again in Early Medieval times. The large Roman cows are thought to have carried significantly more meat.

    In Roman times, even the average person had tile roofs on his home and barn, high-quality pottery dishes and bowls, and ate a good diet.

    Ward-Perkins argues that when the highly integrated, empire-wide trade networks broke down, specialized trades like wheel pottery and tile manufacture disappeared due to lack of markets, and agricultural productivty dropped sharply. It was no longer able to support large populations of people.

    There are definitely some lessons here for home gardeners, market gardeners, small farmers, and anyone who wants to increase resilience.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Whether the US and/or Canada fall or not, things will definitely get worse before they get better. I pray that I am wrong, but I see very hard times ahead for many of us.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @vickeym Yes, very hard times, whatever that may entail. That is inevitable due to the degree of division, in so many areas of life, that has been cultivated. The seeds were already there, they just needed fertile ground & more attention. Like a weedy garden (the weeds I am referring to the general troubles & hate, not any particular group nor person), it would take a lot of hard work & effort to bring it to become a beautiful garden. You could follow through with this garden analogy any number of directions.

    We need to focus on learning what we can & sourcing & implementing, AND we need to continue to support one another while promote mentoring, swapping of basic & specialized skills, wisdom (a proper use of knowledge), and generosity. This way, we will be ready and in the best position no matter what the future holds.

  • flowerpower *
    flowerpower * Posts: 257 ✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 We need to form smaller communities.