czech version

Decadent process

Decadent process – increasing of debt which does not have to be settled; imbalanced wealth

Motto: Decadent wealth of an individual is a method of extinction of one’s own line

  As I will explain further down and as I implied in Introduction, western civilization finds itself in situation in which degradation of human species is becoming apparent as well as destruction of natural environment. Cause of both phenomenons is complex paradigm which I am going to discuss later, but here I would state that degradation of human species is mainly in lowering birth rate and psychosomatic decline. Externally, the whole degradation presents itself as increase of wealth at the expense of both components. This malignant trend I call anthropological decadence which together with environmental decadence belongs to wider array of total decadence of biosphere. Within the context of effete Euro-American civilization there is no contemporary ideological frame which would order to take care of future and ensure there is adequately numerous and healthy next generation; there is only weakly exerted topic of the need to protect the environment and spare non-renewable resources. Only in some religious teachings there are still rules which acquitted themselves well but to make them functional again past times would have to return.

  This decadence is only partially irreversible process of extinction. We can assume that at least partially it is reversible, and therefore we can talk about debt. It is possible to clean the environment and have enough children again to ensure reproduction, and ensure their healthy education (considering people will be able to do that with regards to their health). That’s why this decadence transformed in material health can be called debt. Only part of it is irreversible demise (depletion of non-renewable resources, irreversible changes in nature, and the part of human population which won’t produce next generation). It is questionable whether next generations can repay the debt at least to the level which will ensure further continuation of civilization and natural environment of whole planet; that’s why it is impossible to predict which part represents debt and what is demise.

  Part of the debt and demise can be transformed into material means (expressible in monetary terms) and are in continual proportion to wealth, which the current generation (and partially the previous ones) utilizes somewhat extra than what would be morally justified from the perspective of continuity of life. This later markedly manifests at time of crisis. Point of view which I am going to apply in the following text is exactly this moral aspect of continuity of life which I am calling timeless thinking.

  When students were throwing eggs at Czech Prime Minister Paroubek, yelling “we won’t pay your debts”, it was the first recognition of debt which is generated by the current aging generation and left to the young. To understand where wealth comes from and which part of it comes on debit we have to have a look at sources of prosperity.

  Wealth from the perspective of consumption, or consumer society, can be distinguished into material component, that is consumption of things which again can be divided to purposeful (food, accommodation, cell-phones, computers, and cars), or purposeless (unreasonably big cars, and purposeless wasting of otherwise useful things). Another component of prosperity is hedonistic behavior. This is “enjoying” of pleasures of life which includes again part which is purposeful (romantics, sex, food, and drinks), and part which is purposeless, usually imbalanced increase of the previous, and also idleness and drugs. Withal from anthropologic perspective, hedonistic extreme end of prosperity is more malignant than material; whilst from ecological perspective material component is more damaging. Moreover, the result is usually based on both components (e.g. travelling, recreation). Certain level of consumer behavior is always harmless.

  I have to advise that reserves, like money in a bank or material reserves (gold, immovable assets, etc) do not count as consumerism. Sometimes there are doubts what is consummation and what is reserve, for example estates, golden jewelers, paintings. Usually what matters is purpose of such an investment which also can be mixed. Let’s not forget that reserves do not generate debt even though they could have been purchased on debit. Reserves can be used to repay debt (for example to ensure larger family in the next generation or clean the living environment).

  Timeless perspective has to mainly focus on sources of wealth which can also be later utilized through any type of consumption or to form reserves. People should not be denied wealth if this is balanced with sources. With respect to sources, prosperity has two components: balanced and imbalanced. Balanced component is the one which brings wealth through human labor and based on technologies which compensate for work. This component of wealth is acquired via human labor, either directly or deduced. Imbalanced component is a debt and non-renewable demise. This component is not covered by work and is at expense of “something” nonrenewable or renewable in the future (debt). This “something” is human population and destroyed biosphere. Both components inosculate and at times prosperity cannot be based on one component only. New technologies manufacture articles (balanced component) but the material is acquired from nonrenewable resources.

  Let’s not forget that current wealth of developed countries is only partially based on more advanced technologies and that further development of technologies will only bring small part of prosperity. Substantial part of wealth is in imbalanced component of ecological and anthropological area, which is in destruction and debt. If we had current technologies but not the anthropological imbalanced component of wealth (if we had large families), we would be having much lower living standard which I believe would not be that different from the Middle East.

  Whenever a country’s wealth increases, it happens through both balanced and imbalanced component; these typically cannot be divided; because prosperity only comes with utilization of higher education at a time when the population emancipates itself; whilst balanced component arises from utilization of higher education and new technologies and imbalanced with liberation from family and higher number of children; that is at expense of irreversible population demise. This demise does not have to be fatal in the beginning; enough children still can be born; but compared to the past there will still be lower number of them. In the beginning we would not even have to talk about imbalanced wealth as about malignant phenomenon but about emancipation wealth which is in fact expression of “liberation” from the “curse” of large families, from the natural laws which force people to work hard and bring up crowds of descendants. But at this time, culture usually comes, usually stripped of its dependence on religion, which is the result of emancipation and which does not change in the following generations; and allows this process via its tendency to extremes to continue off balance, that is in sub-reproduction numbers of descendants without this being noticed at all. All this still brings material advancement and there is no clear line when the process already became discontinuous. Admittedly it is tremendously difficult to return. From some point, imbalanced wealth becomes decadent; that means that this stimulates decline of civilization.   

  The prosperity which arises in Asia is mostly represented by imbalanced component. In China, family was compulsory restricted to one child, what created room for women to work full time and families did not consume wealth for more children. Imbalanced component of wealth therefore arises here, too, just like in developed countries earlier on, triggered by demise of human population and creation of ecological debt; whilst these components form the biggest portion of total wealth because innovation in technologies was not that significant; manual labor in these countries mostly was not in substantial degree replaced with mechanization. In countries which did not accept irreplaceable decline of human material (India), no prosperity is on the way; or it only affects the part of population which accepted this irreversible demise; that is in some forming middle class which already has fewer children and emancipated women work instead of taking care of the family full-time.

  Today’s young man in his 25 years who studies or starts working, can imagine if he had already three children and a wife out of work as it still common in undeveloped countries. How would he be living? He would have a problem with accommodation and rent, would have difficult access to technology, and most importantly, he would not have advanced education. This would not be possible without the support of parents and let’s remember from the communist era when couples like this were living with their parents waiting for apartment to be provided to them. Woman usually had only low qualification and worked, if this was possible, only to supplement family income. This is no longer the case and young people live better but what their wealth is based on? Is it really due to technology only? No! It is based on delaying families and often on having no family at all. Once birth rate drops significantly below replacement level, this component of wealth accrue to debt or irreplaceable demise, which can result in fatal breakdown.

  To explain decadent prosperity even better, I will use yet another example: It is the difference between the life of a family with two and five children (considering equivalent working opportunities). Whilst woman with two children still can coordinate care for family and work, and her time of work can be only short, help of grandparents and a husband can help her to be successful at work. These two children can be somehow “slurred over” and even if “skin through” allow the woman to still pursue her career. But a woman with five children has to stay at home for a very long time (let’s say 10 years). She only can work occasionally or do something what does not require fixed working hours. She will lose qualifications and her eminently praiseworthy contribution to society will hardly be appreciated. Society is founded on earning money; this woman will be off work for way too long; will lose her qualifications; and can only expect low-paid jobs for herself. Nobody is going to recognize her deserving work for society. If we want to somehow quantify decadent wealth of a family with two children compared to a family with five children, then we have to count not only direct expenses spent on children but also loss of earnings of a woman during her entire working career, what is not considered even in the pension system. This example also demonstrated strategic limit of parenthood which usually means two children and sometimes just a single one. It is interesting that this limit is less influenced by total income and economic situation of a family because emancipation of a woman and her desire for a professional career is often the leading objective; and for this reason we can observe the two children limit both in wealthy and poor families. Most support measures of a state based on financial aid to families (direct payment per child) mostly does not affect this strategic limit and we can observe that this only successfully addresses women who have no ambitions to pursue a career. From this we can conclude that this decadence is not a matter which can be fully influenced by economic incentives because of wider social impact; and mostly depends on values and lifestyle. In this publication I am focusing on trends which can be observed from statistics and publications which are not oriented positively and do not discuss moral aspect of the value system (see 57, 58). Compared to this information I created rather different criteria (from the perspective of sources of wealth), to approach the objective to describe ontological basis for the situation.

  When women entered workforce, prosperity skyrocketed. Suddenly there were two incomes and living standard nearly doubled. At that time, wealth still could arise as part of emancipation prosperity. Working women wanted to emancipate, begun limiting birth rate and increased wealth. Girls were no longer led to take care of a family but to success at work. Lower number of children could reach higher academic degrees. But the process deepened, led mostly by ideas of modernity (current regime), exactly those which were later deformed. Part of prosperity was already imbalanced and later most of it became decadent. Deepening of the process (wealth more important than children) caused drop in birth rate way below reproduction limit (1.2 to 1.4 these days), what was not noticed at all, not philosophically reflected; the process was not stopped, and with small deviations it only deepens. This brings yet another component of imbalanced wealth and that is debt passed on to descendants, or demise, without the chance to stop it; because the ideal of progress demands that humans have to continuously increase wealth. Looking into origin of this prosperity is not by any chance part of any modernistic ideologies. At the same time it is not possible to blame individual people because are they are only adjusting to reality which surrounds them and are led to certain behavior by whole cultural complex. To this I can comment that this process has oscillations; that mean returns to higher birth rate, usually caused by parenthood delayed to higher age. At times these oscillations bring high hopes, but without a change in basic paradigm this cannot be permanent.

  All civilizations that experienced sudden increase in prosperity accompanied usually by cultural works attained most of their wealth via generating debt or irreversible demise. All these advanced civilizations, if their prosperity surpassed ability of their technology, paid for it though irreversible demise. On other occasions, these were slaves acquired as prisoners of war who spent their whole lives working for their keepers, just to die and create a need for another war. Until these subjects worked and reproduced, this system could be balanced; but sometimes, due to spasms of the governing elite, which wanted to achieve some usual cultural success (e.g. a large construction project), and overexploited the people; then the process resulted in decadence of such a nation, its decline, succumbing to disease, and eventual demise of such a regime (especially the history of China is full of turns caused by this phenomenon. History is not explained from timeless perspective because today’s individualists are interested in different things such as architecture, wars, military commanders, and technical advancement. For this reason, some historical phenomenons seem to be random. Access to anthropological situation in history is often aggravated by lack of information.

  In essence, today’s regime is no different. All these economic miracles brought wealth at expense of children which were not born and women who worked instead of having children. Post-war economic success in Western Germany had the same roots among other factors. At the same time, only the part of wealth which continues to destruction of human race and nature became decadent. Thus, because there is in fact no miracle happening, without a change in paradigm it is not possible to overcome decadence which is becoming fatal for developed countries; and development suggests that it is becoming fatal for the whole human race. This way, the whole developed civilization appears like a monster which is eating itself.
  Peak generation is the one which still had to work manually to some extent but not to complete physical exhaustion (in usual 8 working hours a day without the need to work weekends), did not have to live in overly polluted environment, and enjoyed relatively good health care. At the same time they came from generation which survived epidemic of plague, cholera, and Spanish Flu, and therefore had good immune system and vitality. The following generations won’t be that lucky. Society with prevailing group of young people, working women, less numerous retirees, and few children, is exactly the one on the top of prosperity or shortly before its peak; before the wealth becomes decadent.

  Important circumstance is that this peak generation is used to work, raised in countryside, working manually in industrial enterprises, gradually pushed out of manual labor by technologies, is moving to gardens, cottages and holiday houses; and leaves to the next generation which is less active and more hedonistically behaving generation material assets which are partially devaluated in next generations; mostly through abandonment and migration to cities, what is mostly a result of search for easier life and hedonism. Peak generation in every state is slightly differently positioned and in Czech lands it was in the period from 1960’s to 1990’s.

  Then there is a period in which technologies help to maintain the standard, the old do not retire early and try to maintain the wealth through this imbalanced component; that is draws prosperity accumulating human debt, before the population ages to the point that the problems will truly manifest and lowered birth rate will become a problem during the period of economic decline. Inadequate abstract thinking (not assessing fundamental matters) creates lack of understanding; why economic decline is not naturally overcome; and why society suffers from social problems at times when it should enjoy greater progress in terms material wealth and health care.

  Next generation lives not only in more polluted environment, mostly without physical activity; but also with higher level of stress and mental strain. Health care is becoming a necessity required for ordinary life than just aid in extreme situations. Dependence on outputs and the whole civilization is much higher and the likelihood of catastrophes is higher, too. This defrauded generation which cannot be blamed for its own status is decadent biologically, and the whole environment they have got to adjust to is decadent as well. At the same time they are forced to contribute to an army of way too long surviving antediluvians and crones from the peak generation who were unable to produce enough descendants; in situation when the young have even less children because they are led to it by their parents and also try to solve their own problems this way. Too concrete thinking does not explore causes and therefore it is not surprising that the whole process of decadence is not understood despite being signalized by economic decline, inability to maintain social commitments despite fast technological progress and increased work productivity. Mostly, insufficient redistribution of wealth is blamed, and so on.

  Statistics and root cause seeking do not take into account transfer from peak generation to defrauded one, and this way planning of objectives becomes flawed. If this fact is understood at least partially, material solutions are sought; which though, as previously mentioned, do not affect strategic limit of parenthood of good quality families, and their effects are poor or even counterproductive.

  Quantification of debt is not possible because as I stated above, these are only trends; and those in material part which could be quantified, could flaw the big picture. In addition, it is not possible to count up both components of decadence, that is anthropological and ecological, because their character is different and the only thing they have in common is that they are both discontinuous in their nature. Ecological decadence is malignant even in the absence of anthropological decadence and vice versa. Ecological decadence affects anthropological through deterioration of health as a result of polluted environment.

  If non-renewable resources are exploited, ecological decadence will always be present in terms described above. We could respect some small level of decadence. It will certainly be dependent on number of people and their wealth. Advancement of ecological technologies can resolve the level of decadence absolutely. The same applies to population decline. Here, both types of decadence contradict each other, because anthropological decadence can partially resolve ecological decadence.

   It is not possible to predict anything in ecological part because everything depends on human decisions which can suddenly change in time. Moreover, ecological decadence does not have any self-accelerating mechanism; devastated nature does not further devastate itself; on the contrary, it has the capacity to regenerate. In most cases, it is sufficient to stop malignant processes and let the nature recover.

  In the case of anthropological decadence the situation is exactly the opposite. Decadence accelerates further decadence and therefore s a spontaneous phenomenon. At the same time this phenomenon is unnatural because it is based on unnatural parameters (excluded natural rules of human society); nonetheless physically it functions spontaneously. Comparing similar phenomenons in nature (see 25) is possible to determine exponential trend of this decadence which is therefore much more penetrative than ecological decadence. Population decline, increase in numbers of old compared to young, all these phenomenons are exponential which are spontaneous, fierce, with internal accelerating mechanism.

  “Defrauded generation”, which has to bear the burden of previous generations, has two options: 1) to complete the demise of civilization and live at least part of their lives in relatively satisfying prosperity; 2) accept the huge risk of rebellion which will be easier if started early.

   I dared to create theory of timeless humanism, to prevent this rebellion to grow into anarchy or did not take up direction which is proven by history as a dead end.