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Has Civilization Peaked?

Is the Matrix correct that we peaked in the late '90s? We can certainly become more technically advanced, as long as society doesn't keep unraveling. But the driving point is, do we even know what human progress looks like anymore, beyond money? And though money and modernization have produced a more prosperous world, is there a cost by focusing so heavily on tech and finance that we're creating an imbalance that does not serve the greater good?

I remember how mature my parents were at a young age, way more than me, and I don't see the same intense focus on priorities in this generation. We're becoming confused with misinformation and emotional bias. Everyone is up in everyone else's business when they should be concerned about getting their own house in order.

We need to figure this out quickly before the problems get out of control and someone hits the reset button.


 

SingleVoyce

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Just a quick quote



I would like to think america can be a contender here. Make it to a thousand at least.

Chin up people, you can do it. Just remember think maga and what could possibly go wrong.

I just recently discovered this interesting forum and have a couple of general questions - What exactly does it mean to be "a civilization"? Is it enough to be a political entity of a certain size that lasts for a certain length of time? Is some contribution to art and/or science necessary to qualify for that designation?

In an attempt to find answers to these questions, I came across an interesting site that lists 10 great historical civilizations. I'm not sure how the author selected these specific entities but he does have some criteria listed. The site has some interesting information including a description of the Harappa civilization which was new to me. This entity lasted 1500 years (second only to Egypt on this list). This is an excerpt from the description of this civilization:

" While other civilizations were devoting huge amounts of time and resources to the rich, the supernatural, and the dead, Indus Valley inhabitants were taking a practical approach to supporting the common, secular, living people”. Few weapons have ever been excavated, and no human remains found show any evidence of violence. Not only were the Harappa people peaceful, but they were also clean. They lived in well-structured adobe-like buildings on well -paved streets that received water from local wells. They also had a drainage system. Each of their houses had individual baths, even those on the outskirts of the cities. Ancient forms of writing have also been found at the archaeological sites. Little is still known about these ancient people, but their peaceful, clean lifestyle and early advancements made them a great civilization."

Sound like a bunch of commies but they evidently made it work.
 

soylentgreen

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I just recently discovered this interesting forum and have a couple of general questions - What exactly does it mean to be "a civilization"? Is it enough to be a political entity of a certain size that lasts for a certain length of time? Is some contribution to art and/or science necessary to qualify for that designation?

In an attempt to find answers to these questions, I came across an interesting site that lists 10 great historical civilizations. I'm not sure how the author selected these specific entities but he does have some criteria listed. The site has some interesting information including a description of the Harappa civilization which was new to me. This entity lasted 1500 years (second only to Egypt on this list). This is an excerpt from the description of this civilization:

" While other civilizations were devoting huge amounts of time and resources to the rich, the supernatural, and the dead, Indus Valley inhabitants were taking a practical approach to supporting the common, secular, living people”. Few weapons have ever been excavated, and no human remains found show any evidence of violence. Not only were the Harappa people peaceful, but they were also clean. They lived in well-structured adobe-like buildings on well -paved streets that received water from local wells. They also had a drainage system. Each of their houses had individual baths, even those on the outskirts of the cities. Ancient forms of writing have also been found at the archaeological sites. Little is still known about these ancient people, but their peaceful, clean lifestyle and early advancements made them a great civilization."
That is one way for a civilisation. The australisn aboriginals were, except for some exceptions an isolated people for some 50,000 years. In that time they created a complex intertribal society as well as an intensive agricultural based economy. Yet built no permanent buildings as such. Nor created a centralised hub as most civilisations do as in creating cities.

A modern description of that civilisation would be primitive anarchism.

Sound like a bunch of commies but they evidently made it work.
You were doing so well, right up to there. But you are correct. Prior to the first civilisations humans lived for a couple of million years with a social structure called primitive communism.
 

HangLow

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Yes the Capitalism in China... They have has the fastest growing middle class for decades and GM sell more cars there than in the U.S.

In China today, poverty refers mainly to the rural poor, decades of economic development has reduced urban extreme poverty.[1][2][3] According to the World Bank, more than 850 million Chinese people have been lifted out of extreme poverty

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_China#:~:text=According to the World Bank,purchasing price parity terms,which
1658495757938.png
 

Cardinal

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Hard to say. Several bad, game changing things are all happening simultaneously, and it makes predictions about what’s in store for us very difficult to make. Accelerating environmental catastrophe, the reversal of democracy in the world, the fading influence of America on the world scene, and social media rewriting how humans relate to each other (usually in a negative way) all make it difficult to feel a real level of confidence that civilization as we know it is going to pull through.
 

grip

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What Peter Thiel thinks about progress...

-- Thiel sees many of the same ills as Deneen, but offers a strikingly different framing: we’re consuming ourselves not because the fixation on progress is inevitably self-destructive beyond a certain threshold, but because material progress has objectively stalled while we remain collectively in denial about this fact.

Thiel characterises this stagnation as a long, slow victory of the Club of Rome, a nonprofit founded in 1968 to drive political change premised on the belief that infinite growth is impossible. As Thiel sees it, this tacit postwar abandonment of the growth aspiration has resulted in “something like a societal and cultural lockdown; not just the last two years but in many ways the last 40 or 50”. There’s “a cultural version, a demographic version, and a technological version of this stagnant or decadent society,” he suggests. And the upshot of this paralysis has been “a world of technological stagnation and demographic collapse”, along with “sclerosis in government and banal repetition in culture”.

He’s been making the case for real-terms tech stagnation for 15 years now, he tells me, against a mainstream Left and Right that doesn’t want to know: “it was always striking how much it went against the stated ideology of the regime.” Perpetuating the fantasy of progress, against a backdrop of its actual stagnation, is at the heart of delusions on both Left and Right, he argues: “the Silicon Valley liberals don’t like it, because they think they’re driving this great engine of progress”, while social conservatives “have conceded the ground to the liberals, because they believe the Left-wing propaganda about how much science and technology are progressing”. And against this backdrop of cross-party denial, institutions and the wider culture are increasingly shaped by real-terms stagnation.

In his view, much of what passes for “progress” is in truth more like “distraction”. As he puts it, “the iPhone that distracts us from our environment also distracts us from the ways our environment is unchanging and static.” And in this culture, economy and politics of chronic self-deception, as Thiel sees it, we tell ourselves that we’re advancing because “grandma gets an iPhone with a smooth surface,” but meanwhile she “gets to eat cat food because food prices have gone up.”

In this context, Thiel argues, much of what passes as “progress” in economic terms is actually an accounting trick. For example, much of what looks like GDP growth since the Fifties was simply a matter of changing how we measured the value bundled up in family life. If, he points out, “you shift an economy from a single-income household with a homemaker to one with two breadwinners and a third person who’s a child-carer, statistically you have three jobs instead of one and therefore you have more GDP, and you will exaggerate the amount of progress that’s happened”.

That is: if what you’re calling “progress” is not so much a change in the activities taking place, but rather a change in how you’re measuring those activities, in what sense has anything really changed, let alone improved? After all, he points out, between 1880 and 1960 automation so far reduced working hours that analysts predicted by the year 2000 the average family would subsist happily on the wage of one worker putting in seven hours a day, four days a week, with 13 weeks’ paid holiday. But then “it somehow went really into reverse”.

Since then, many goods once common to America’s middle class have been cannibalised to preserve the illusion of progress. “We are much less of a middle-class society,” he points out, in the sense of “people who think their children will do better than themselves”. And this growing scarcity, coupled with denial of that scarcity, has profoundly corrupted once-trusted institutions. Even the Club of Rome was, in his view, “not pessimistic enough about how badly a zero-growth world would work, and how much it would derange our institutions”. For most of our institutions “depend on growth; and when the growth stops, they lie and they become sociopathic”. --

 

multivita-man

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Sorry, I missed this earlier and never responded.

The only way forward is to find a way for all 8 to 10 billion to live the way we do, if they choose to.

For 8 to 10 billion to live like Americans would lead to the collapse of most of the world's civilization - at least with our current technologies and economic systems. I'm not saying it can't be done, but using the methods of resource extraction and consumption as we are now, there's no way. In fact the only way advanced civilizations haven't already collapsed is because of inequality. Other countries 'develop' by being the labor underclass for the richer nations, who also themselves have many people living in observable conditions of inequality. It's an unsustainable system. We're just deluding ourselves into believing it's sustainable and we have central banks that use central tendency statistics that paper over inequality that's the worst its been in over a century.

Anything less will lead to massive wars between the energy haves and have nots.
It is not all pessimistic, there is a sustainable energy path forward, but I do not see it being embraced much.
Solar power is the answer (not wind), but it's poor density and duty cycle keep it from filling most of our energy roles.
The answer is to look at how nature stores energy, and copy it. Man made hydrocarbon fuels used as a storage medium,
could enable photovoltaic Solar to take it's proper place as a sustainable energy path.
We even the most remote village can make not only electricity, but also fuel from
water, atmospheric CO2 and electricity, the monopoly on energy will have ended.

The answer, if there is one, is for the haves to accept less and to accept that there needs to be a focus on less economic growth and less consumption, and more conversation and redistribution. We have to move to an economy that depends less on resource extraction, use, and waste, and more on reuse and sharing and ensuring the we all have better standards of living. I know - that's 'communist' or 'socialist'. I think there's a way to fuse capitalism with socialism but I don't see modern capitalism, particularly the American brand, surviving for much longer - not unless the haves are able to violently vanquish the rest of us.
 

multivita-man

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Hard to say. Several bad, game changing things are all happening simultaneously, and it makes predictions about what’s in store for us very difficult to make. Accelerating environmental catastrophe, the reversal of democracy in the world, the fading influence of America on the world scene, and social media rewriting how humans relate to each other (usually in a negative way) all make it difficult to feel a real level of confidence that civilization as we know it is going to pull through.

Maybe it's not so bad if this version of 'civilization' doesn't pull through. Sometimes a massive forest fire is needed to clear out the underbrush and allow something new to take its place. Obviously it's bad for those of us who will be subjected to the consequences. I'm not wishing for it, but maybe it's just part of a natural cycle.
 

longview

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Sorry, I missed this earlier and never responded.



For 8 to 10 billion to live like Americans would lead to the collapse of most of the world's civilization - at least with our current technologies and economic systems. I'm not saying it can't be done, but using the methods of resource extraction and consumption as we are now, there's no way. In fact the only way advanced civilizations haven't already collapsed is because of inequality. Other countries 'develop' by being the labor underclass for the richer nations, who also themselves have many people living in observable conditions of inequality. It's an unsustainable system. We're just deluding ourselves into believing it's sustainable and we have central banks that use central tendency statistics that paper over inequality that's the worst its been in over a century.



The answer, if there is one, is for the haves to accept less and to accept that there needs to be a focus on less economic growth and less consumption, and more conversation and redistribution. We have to move to an economy that depends less on resource extraction, use, and waste, and more on reuse and sharing and ensuring the we all have better standards of living. I know - that's 'communist' or 'socialist'. I think there's a way to fuse capitalism with socialism but I don't see modern capitalism, particularly the American brand, surviving for much longer - not unless the haves are able to violently vanquish the rest of us.
A sustainable energy future cannot be based on naturally stored hydrocarbon energy.
Once we start to store solar energy as hydrocarbon fuels, at any real scale, the old rules
of who controls the oil controls everything else, go out the window.
The central role of Government is to ensure property ownership, (An environment where someone can own something
without fear of a stronger neighbor simply taking the property.)
As for this being possible, there is no reason why 8 to 10 billion people cannot live in a way
where they control the temperature in their homes, and have hot and cold running water, and a stable supply of electricity and food.
 

post

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What Peter Thiel thinks about progress...

-- Thiel sees many of the same ills as Deneen, but offers a strikingly different framing: we’re consuming ourselves not because the fixation on progress is inevitably self-destructive beyond a certain threshold, but because material progress has objectively stalled while we remain collectively in denial about this fact.

Thiel characterises this stagnation as a long, slow victory of the Club of Rome, a nonprofit founded in 1968 to drive political change premised on the belief that infinite growth is impossible. As Thiel sees it, this tacit postwar abandonment of the growth aspiration has resulted in “something like a societal and cultural lockdown; not just the last two years but in many ways the last 40 or 50”. There’s “a cultural version, a demographic version, and a technological version of this stagnant or decadent society,” he suggests. And the upshot of this paralysis has been “a world of technological stagnation and demographic collapse”, along with “sclerosis in government and banal repetition in culture”.

He’s been making the case for real-terms tech stagnation for 15 years now, he tells me, against a mainstream Left and Right that doesn’t want to know: “it was always striking how much it went against the stated ideology of the regime.” Perpetuating the fantasy of progress, against a backdrop of its actual stagnation, is at the heart of delusions on both Left and Right, he argues: “the Silicon Valley liberals don’t like it, because they think they’re driving this great engine of progress”, while social conservatives “have conceded the ground to the liberals, because they believe the Left-wing propaganda about how much science and technology are progressing”. And against this backdrop of cross-party denial, institutions and the wider culture are increasingly shaped by real-terms stagnation.

In his view, much of what passes for “progress” is in truth more like “distraction”. As he puts it, “the iPhone that distracts us from our environment also distracts us from the ways our environment is unchanging and static.” And in this culture, economy and politics of chronic self-deception, as Thiel sees it, we tell ourselves that we’re advancing because “grandma gets an iPhone with a smooth surface,” but meanwhile she “gets to eat cat food because food prices have gone up.”

In this context, Thiel argues, much of what passes as “progress” in economic terms is actually an accounting trick. For example, much of what looks like GDP growth since the Fifties was ---snip-

You're shilling for an openly fascist, tax cheat? I'm shocked!

In your OP linked BBC article,
"..The typical progress adherent – at least so far – lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and likely works in tech (the Bay Area meetup channel in the progress Slack has three-times more members than any other city). The influence of people like the investor Peter Thiel, who famously declared, "we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters", is significant in these communities."

https://www.thedailybeast.com › peter-thiel-invests-big-in-firms-his-favorite-candidates-blake-masters-and-jd-vance-love-to-hate

Peter Thiel Invests Big in Firms His Favorite Candidates Love to Hate

Published Jul. 28, 2022 4:47AM ET Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty On the campaign trail, GOP Senate candidates J.D. Vance and Blake Masters have bemoaned the housing...
https://thehill.com › homenews › campaign › 584070-republican-ohio-senate-candidate-slams-jd-vance-over-previous-trump

GOP Senate Candidate J.D. Vance: If People Love Their Kids, They'll ...

Ohio U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance's views on women have been unambiguous for some time
 

grip

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You're shilling for an openly fascist, tax cheat? I'm shocked!

https://www.thedailybeast.com › peter-thiel-invests-big-in-firms-his-favorite-candidates-blake-masters-and-jd-vance-love-to-hate

Peter Thiel Invests Big in Firms His Favorite Candidates Love to Hate

Published Jul. 28, 2022 4:47AM ET Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty On the campaign trail, GOP Senate candidates J.D. Vance and Blake Masters have bemoaned the housing...
https://thehill.com › homenews › campaign › 584070-republican-ohio-senate-candidate-slams-jd-vance-over-previous-trump

GOP Senate Candidate J.D. Vance: If People Love Their Kids, They'll ...

Ohio U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance's views on women have been unambiguous for some time
Shilling? I merely posted an excerpt from a successful businessman's op-ed interview. His social stances don't negate his intellect or insight into what the definition of progress is. If I only listened to people I completely with, then I'd be a dunderhead.
 

Channe79

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I would argue that America in the 80s was probably the greatest decade of any civilization ever.

1659640329458.png
 

Jredbaron96

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I would argue that America in the 80s was probably the greatest decade of any civilization ever.

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