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Is "Western Civilization" at the end of its course?

Asked by Yetanotheruser (13281 points ) December 12th, 2013

I have a lot of details to present with this post, so if you find yourself pressed for time, please come back.

During a recent conversation about the current state of the American-European civilization vis-a-vis the rise of powerful transnational corporations, and some of the parallels between the current civilization and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, as depicted in the documentary Four Horsemen, I was made aware of a series of paintings by 19th century artist Thomas Cole entitled “The Course of Empire”. It consists of five paintings: The Savage State,
The Arcadian or Pastoral State,
The Consumation of Empire, The Destruction, and finally Desolation

According to the Wikipedia article, Cole was inspired for this series by Canto IV of Byrons Childe Harold Pilgrimage. He included the following passage in his advertisements for the series:

There is the moral of all human tales;

‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
First freedom and then Glory – when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page…

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