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Free download Immoderate Greatness ä PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ç Immoderate Greatness explains how a civilization’s very magnitude conspires against it to cause downfall Civilizations are hard wired for self destruction They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to iSumption To avoid the common fate of all past civilizations will reuire a radical change in our ethos to wit the deliberate renunciation of greatness lest we precipitate a dark age in which the arts and adornments of civilization are partially or completely los. A typical post modernist look at history through a modern lense But like many Post Modernists his view is highly hypothetical and not very empirical despite what a Post Modernist attempts to prove For instance I believe somewhere in the first or second chapter he claims Thus Civilizations are like leeches to the biosphere They are destined to bring about their own downfall and I paraphrase Nonetheless he fails to prove this other than through personal analysis his evidence isn't as straight forward as some other texts on ecological failure relating to the fall of civilization If you want a readable adaptation to the theory pick up Ronald Wright's A Short History of Progress All my negatives considered I did find his outlook interesting and it is worth a read Though it would be interesting with empirical thought and not the typical Post Modern jibber jabber Overall a typical book for the genre26

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Able biophysical limits combined with an inexorable trend toward moral decay and practical failure Because our own civilization is global its collapse will also be global as well as uniuely devastating owing to the immensity of its population complexity and con. Perhaps it started with a place called Manti located in the countryside outside of my home town of Shenandoah It had a small pond for fishing and a cemetery The untended gravestones from the late 19th century lay overwhelmed by the exuberant grasses and weeds You could walk among those gravestones looking at the dates of birth and deaths of those long dead residents and then look around and you see nothing but Nature A village of the dead I’m not alone in holding a fascination with the sense of ruin Visits to Anasazi ruins in New Mexico; to Mayan ruins in the Yucatan and Guatemala; to those of the Incas in Peru; to the abandoned Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri in India; to the Coliseum and Forum in Rome—one never finds oneself alone Crowds swarm through the grand ruins We behold and contemplate The list of ruins is like a school’s honor roll of deceased alumni and serves as a haunting memento mori writ large For us for our civilization For those interested in decay decline collapse—the terms vary but the experience remains—the sources are legion Plato and Aristotle St Augustine Machiavelli and just about every serious political thinker in the Western canon addresses this issue Medieval Islam gives us the insights of Ibn Khaldun while the Enlightenment provides us with Gibbon In the 20th century we have Spengler Toynbee and Sorokin among a host of others many of them writing today such as Peter Turchin Francis Fukuyama will publish a new volume at the end of this month entitled Political Order and Political Decay From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy The parade of reflection on this phenomenon continues Some—those with the courage to look at our present situation and consider the real binds that we face—have a grim message for us Such is the case with William aka Patrick Ophuls I recently reviewed Plato’s Revenge which assumes the the decline of our contemporary industrial civilization and that provides a guidebook of sorts about how we should model the successor to our civilization In Immoderate Greatness Why Civilizations Fail 2013 Ophuls argues that decline is inevitable—discoveries of new fossil fuel reserves or reductions in climate change magnitude notwithstanding It’s here It’s happening It’s happened before And there are several reasons why It’s like going to the doctor feeling young fit and trim and she concludes the exam by telling you that you’re going to die That’s an inarguably true statement Sooner or later you’re going to die The difference with Dr Ophuls is that he believes that his patient industrial civilization has already reached civilizational senility and that we’d best get our affairs to make life better for our heirs He’s right Dr Ophuls—and he really is a doctor—of the PhD in political science variety—identifies several disease processes that doom our civilization as they have doomed those before us Ophuls does not develop any new or uniue theories of civilizational decline in his book but he does an excellent job of identifying and arguing the existing theories Also as a sound social scientist or historian he doesn’t wed himself to a single grand theory but he appreciates that multiple causes drive the process of change He begins his diagnosis as he began Plato’s Revenge with the basic science involved Entropy ecology and complexity all entail natural physical limits on human capacities Each level of analysis—physical biological and social—faces tangible constraints At the most basic level entropy reuires any life form to feed upon outside sources of energy Whether for our bodies or for our machines we must continuously tap new sources of energy But the law of entropy establishes that energy degrades when used chaos replaces order and that eventually traditional energy sources will not yield a sufficient return on the investment needed to gather and use the energy As Ophuls notes Joseph Tainter builds his entire theory of civilizational collapse on the increasing marginal cost of a unit of energy or conversely on the declining energy return on investment EROI Complexity may delay but cannot avoid this conundrum But complexity too has its limits those implicit in the environment and in the human brain As Ophuls notes Our minds and language are linear and seuential but systems happen all at once and overwhelm us intellectually Systems surprise us because our minds like to think about single causes neatly producing single effects We like to think about one or at most a few things at a time But we live in a world in which many causes routinely come together to produce many effects In short limited fallible human beings are bound to bungle the job of managing complex systems What they can neither understand nor predict they cannot expect to control so failure is inevitable at some pointOphuls William 2012 12 28 Immoderate Greatness Why Civilizations Fail p 37 CreateSpace Kindle EditionIn addition to our limited cognitive ability to encompass the complexity of systems we also have the problem that we’re incarnate human beings with some—shall we say—unfortunate traits that are only overcome—if at all—through a great deal of effort And effort the struggle for civilization for civility invariably decreases as civilizations grow prosperous Add to this the common traits of humans and we can see our problem Ophuls uotes Edmund Burke History consists for the greater part of the miseries brought upon the world by pride ambition avarice revenge lust sedition hypocrisy ungoverned zeal and all the train of disorderly appetiteOphuls William 2012 12 28 Immoderate Greatness Why Civilizations Fail p 54 CreateSpace Kindle Edition uoting Burke citation in notesAdd to this the fact the humans are “are not innately wise especially in crowds” id 41to put in mildly and that democracy at its worst crowdsources difficult political problems to a less than ualified and informed electorate With this situation you have the making of a cascade of troubles on the horizon Politicians are driven to the lowest denominator of popular prejudices and provide bread and circuses entitlements and inflation to stave off discontent The ability to say “no” and to reason together all but disappears Sound familiar Ophuls concludes his reflections about the Ponzi scheme of civilization “as a process civilization resembles a long running economic bubble” Id 9 with the observation that our civilization—industrial civilization—is nearly universal This near universality well really speaking just of Earth means that nowhere in this world of ours will we find an apparent successor of eual power and glory to replace industrial civilization No Rome to replace Greece no Byzantium to preserve Rome We face a new Dark Ages Can we avoid this Ophuls notes that Ian Morris in his Why the West Rules—For Now the title belies the scope magnitude and sophistication of the work concludes with the idea that we will either gain “The Singularity” of technological and cognitive control of our environment and our history or we will descend into the collapse of “Nightfall” But before plunging into Morris ThomasHomer Dixon or Joseph Tainter if you haven’t already—or even if you have—I recommend this brief and incisive primer about how we’re in for a rough ride ahead just like our ancestors

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Immoderate GreatnessImmoderate Greatness explains how a civilization’s very magnitude conspires against it to cause downfall Civilizations are hard wired for self destruction They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to intrinsic inescap. Very succinct and convincing when talking about the environment resources and how civilisations overuse them I found the moral decay much less credible and blinkered For instance Ophul claims the 'masses' and the elite split further apart over time and that this is an indication of decay But there was never any real unity in the sense he implies Civilisations are built upon internal friction slavery and war amongst other positive human behaviours which are not signs of moral strength And while grouchy old men could point to signs of decadence in our current society and claim everything is going downhill there is no denying the social progress that has been made Racism sexism and homophobia are still present from the 'good old days' but are much less acceptable And I'll bet I can express a wider range of thoughts and ideas than my great grandfather ever could without fear of loss to social status or employment If Ophuls wants to look at the cause of moral decay perhaps he could focus on the vested interests that are able to buy influence in politics and the media thereby distorting rational discussion Or maybe the ubiuitous nature of marketing that exploits our desires