glyph 560: social evolution, great movements, growth, decay . Winston Churchill's River War ... or, more briefly: ideal to business to racket to essential new foundations


Great Social Movements: Growth & Decay

Winston Churchill & Sir John Glubb

"All great movements, every vigorous impulse that the community may feel, become perverted and distorted as time passes, and the atmosphere of the earth seems fatal to the noble aspirations of its peoples. A wide humanitarian sympathy in a nation easily degenerates into hysteria. A military spirit tends towards brutality. Liberty leads to license, restraint to tyranny. The pride of race is distended to blustering arrogance. The fear of God produces bigotry and superstition. There appears no exception to the mournful rule, and the best efforts of men, however glorious their early results, have dismal endings, like plants which shoot and bud and put forth beautiful flowers, and then grow rank and coarse and are withered by the winter. It is only when we reflect that the decay gives birth to fresh life, and that new enthusiasms spring up to take the places of those that die, as the acorn is nourished by the dead leaves of the oak, the hope strengthens that the rise and fall of men and their movements are only the changing foliage of the ever-growing tree of life, while underneath a greater evolution goes on continually." —Winston Churchill, The River War, 1899

Sir John Glubb, The Fate of Empires, 1978:

Whatever causes may be given for the overthrow of great civilisations by barbarians, we can sense certain resulting benefits. Every race on earth has distinctive characteristics. Some have been distingui- shed in philosophy, some in administration, some in romance, poetry or religion, some in their legal system. During the pre-eminence of each culture, its distinctive characteristics are carried by it far and wide across the world.

If the same nation were to retain its domination indefinitely, its peculiar qualities would permanently characterise the whole human race. Under the system of empires each lasting for 250 years, the sovereign race has time to spread its particular virtues far and wide. Then, however, another people, with entirely different peculiarities, takes its place, and its virtues and accomplishments are likewise disseminated. By this system, each of the innumerable races of the world enjoys a period of greatness, during which its peculiar qualities are placed at the service of mankind.
April 19, 2016; edited/updated May 9, 2017

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