“The curse of every ancient civilization was that its men in the end became unable to fight. Materialism, luxury, safety, even sometimes an almost modern sentimentality, weakened the fibre of each civilized race in turn; each became in the end a nation of pacifists, and then each was trodden under foot by some ruder people that had kept the virile fighting power the lack of which makes all other virtues useless and sometimes even harmful.”
— President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
THE CIVILIZATIONAL HEARTBEAT
I have posted this video (1 hour, 44 minutes) by Bill Whittle before in multiple essays; if you’ve already seen it, I do recommend watching it again. If you haven’t seen it before, I implore you to make time for it in a place where you can really pay attention. It is time well spent. At about 53 minutes in he discusses the heartbeat of civilizations, and how civilizations start, rise slowly in the beginning, accelerate, and then the collapse happens almost overnight. The pattern is very clear time and again.
Bill offers an explanation in the course of the rest of the lecture, and I agree with every word. But we must ask why and why and why. In a discussion between Bill and Stefan Molyneux, which has been “cancelled” since I originally viewed it, Bill made an excellent observation (my transcription): “As resources become more abundant… peoples’ behavior changes in the presence of [that] abundance…” And a little later: “… it is success that kills a culture, it’s wealth and abundance that kills a culture from within.”
Not just that, but during the break-up of the USSR she described how there were weeks at a time when they didn’t know where their next meal would come from. And yet, the first time her mother and aunt visited together, they were laughing at my “grocery store” in the basement, and when I inquired about their laughter at the need to have food, etc., stored away, in light of their own experiences and their peoples’ past plight, the reply was plain: “That can’t happen in America”. This view defies their own living experience that things can change fast – far faster than imaginable:
Try to remember that Sarajevo once hosted an Olympics. Remember that Beirut used to be called “The Paris of the Middle East.” Remember that women used to wear lipstick and miniskirts in Tehran. Most of all…remember that it CAN happen anywhere. It can happen here.
I watch people who have child-like trust in society and its “unshakable” permanence & goodness, and ritually intone Oh, that’s just not possible. Most especially I lament this attitude amongst my fellow Jews who, out of all peoples on earth, should be most distrustful of government. With respect to my fellow Jews, I do believe that the Shtetl Mentality informs the anti-gun nature of the majority of Jews, at least American Jews for sure. (And I can’t help but think the r/K division factors into things too.)
More importantly, I fully believe that it’s not simple denial here – for denial at least acknowledges the fact (e.g., my wife’s father passing away recently, and she is still in denial: “I can’t believe it’s true”), but a literal inability to see threats. Yuri B. was right – people can be shown clear evidence and completely ignore it. For to see such threats means recognizing a world that is far closer to the edge of stability than comfortable.
A PEEK INTO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE
So consider this example to set the stage – sorry for the length of the excerpt, but it paints a picture typical of today’s reality (underlining added):
Anyway, our new friend was busy singing the praises of these Turkish beaux when something came in over her cell phone, which was sitting on the table in front of her. She picked it up, punched a few keys, saw something, reacted, and then – to our astonishment – leaped out of her chair, called a number, and began pacing back and forth in front of the bar screaming loudly and furiously into the phone in what turned out to be Turkish.
This screaming went on for several minutes. Finally, shaking with rage, she ended the conversation, returned to her seat, and, holding the cell phone up to us so that we could see the screen, explained to us what had happened.
On the screen was a close-up photo of a woman whose face had been beaten to a pulp. This, she told us, was a Finnish friend of hers who, like her, has a second home in Turkey, apparently in the same town as our friend. The Finnish woman had just now taken the selfie and sent it to her, along with a note identifying the assailant. The individual in question was a local fellow with whom both women were acquainted.
It was he whom our new friend had phoned and screamed at. Of course, neither she nor her Finnish friend had phoned the Turkish police, because in such jurisdictions the physical abuse of infidel women – also known as “whores” – by their Muslim paramours are of no concern to the authorities. Instead, our friend had told the perpetrator that she has connections with gangsters and had warned him that if he didn’t keep his hands off the Finnish women, she, our friend, would see to it that he got what he had coming to him.
After that dramatic little interlude, it was surprising how quickly our friend resumed being her previous cheery self. We gathered that this was not the first time she had been involved in such an incident. She was used to such difficulties. They were an integral part of the culture. It appeared, in fact, that for her they were part and parcel of what made life in that corner of the world – so far from her homeland, with its bland, well-behaved men, its responsible policing and courts and equality of the sexes – so wonderfully colorful.
Four things come to mind on this.
Zeroth, channeling Whittle’s video above, how people need danger in their lives to feel alive… and how, absent that in their own spaces, immersed in safety and civility, they venture to places where they get that danger and uncertainty. Or import it. To the detriment of their own population, especially women, as highlighted in Tommy’s The Rape of Britain documentary.
First, doubtless this Turk who had just beaten the Finnish woman to a pulp was just trembling in his boots. /sarcasm Seriously, he was probably laughing his ass off after the end of the call.
Second, the utter naivete to think her screaming and bluff-threat had “handled it”.
But the third one – ah! – that’s the key point. To wit, the total lack of fear on the part of this woman who, almost certainly, plans on continuing her sexual adventures in Turkey despite what should be an obvious threat to her own continued well-being, if not life itself, by going there… as exemplified by what had just happened to a friend at the hands of one of the boy-toys with whom she herself, inferentially, couples ruts.
A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
THE SEAT OF FEAR
I believe that fear is one of the oldest emotions, perhaps the oldest emotion as it is intimately linked to survival and reproduction; animals that do not react to threats do not pass their genes onward. Residing in the oldest part of the brain there is are twin, symmetrical, structures called the amygdala – to which Bill has referred repeatedly in multiple video pieces – which have been shown to be intimately related to threat recognition (and the associated fight-flight response from the adrenal system):
In the late 1930s, researchers discovered that monkeys with damage to the amygdala and surrounding areas of the brain showed a dramatic decrease in fearfulness. Later, scientists found that rats with targeted amygdala damage would snuggle with cats, their natural enemy.
But one does not need to have actual brain damage to this region to not recognize actual threats. I’ve been referred to the book The Brain that Changes Itself on the basis of an inquiry into what I remember from my one Psychology course many years ago. In that class, and going from memory, I read about several experiments in which animals were raised from birth in environments devoid of specific stimuli that occur in nature, e.g., specific colors or patterns, etc. Then, as adults, these animals were then exposed to reality, which contains these varied stimuli. These animals were initially confused and confounded by these selected stimuli to which their brains had never been previously exposed during their development. My recollection, too, is that these animals truly never rose to the level of handling these things that their fellows, exposed from birth, possessed.
My hypothesis: In today’s society of plenty, where food is available virtually 24/7/365, where for most people true fear is a passing thing at most, where helicopter parents insulate children from even slight boo-boos and rush to administer sprays filled with pain killers and antibiotics within seconds… I propose that our amygdala structures been so deprived of stimulation early on that people now, having been raised in an environment free of genuine dangers since birth and for multiple generations, quite literally cannot recognize actual threats when faced with them.
It certainly would explain a lot. The philia for Middle Eastern and African refugees, who depredations are documented, extensively, by what is happening in Europe. A similar philia for illegal immigrants whose similar crime sprees are dismissed with those who point it out excoriated as racists. And gays, for example, take the side of the Fakestinians whose treatment of homosexuals in their society is… well, here:
Taking the side of people who would, if given a chance, kill you? The very personification of a lack of survival instinct.
Lesson One: Our safe & secure advanced civilization has bred a population that, with a few notable exceptions, are biologically handicapped in seeing real threats.
To be continued in Part 2.