Edward Gibbon’s assessment of the “Golden Age” of humanity below could, many would demand, be measured against Gibbon’s social status, his time and place in history and of course..his gender.
But THAT would be doing a disservice to such a scholar and artist who dedicated over twenty years of his adult life ,which would in fact, if one considers build-up and weaning -off for and from the task, the best part of any lifetime (he died at 56yrs) . Added to that the prodigious research and learned knowledge of both Latin and ancient Greek along with the sensitivity of the artist who , in creating such a masterpiece, must transfer body and mind to that location in space and time that they wish to create..there are no short-cuts to Nirvana. So when he makes a statement like the one below, you have to take it for granted it was made with the knowledge of the impact of such a claim on the present generation and the knowledge of it’s judgment in a future readership…The man was no fool.
“If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus. The vast extent of the Roman empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded involuntary respect. The forms of the civil administration were carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines, who delighted in the image of liberty, and were pleased with considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws.”
Of Course, Gibbon was not to know in his 18th. century the then teetering on the edge of technological revolution, the industrial revolution bomb about to explode across the western world and continue to grow in all manner of undisciplined direction for the next unknown centuries and bring about devastation of both social stability and environmental balance of unrecorded catastrophe since the beginnings of humanity.
Time and history once seemed to move in a measured, agreed harmony. Great movements of peoples, beasts, even rivers and forests took much oragnised labour (be they human invoked or natural cataclysm) to manage and evolve..even the “sudden” passing of one geological age to another involved millions of years..But now, in this twenty-first century, time is not considered except in it’s expediency..yet it is still there, moving no faster, nor slower that it ever has..a second is still a second..be it to man , beast or God himself…for it is said ; “even God cannot stop time”.
But these ancient blocks of time and events have now shifted..Those moments of “happy prosperity” extended over a century or so have given way to a haste of “economic urgency”, no longer is the moment of tranquil bliss sought for until one has a secure income or healthy bank balance..Time, it seems can be delayed or suspended for such esoteric pursuits..The Capital Human is now in charge!
As in a clock..; The “lever escapement” wheel has shifted..that locking device that held the second hand suspended for a measured moment of history has moved..the pallet lever has lifted and the escape wheel has turned to the next tooth on the sprocket of humanity’s clock..The movement has turned one fatal cog and the finality of the “moving finger” of Omar’s prescient stanza “moves on”.
“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
The direction of western politics and as is the reality; the lifestyles of the citizens has shifted with the “election” and promotion of the Right-wing of politics..The carefully cultivated stupidity of a large portion of the voting public has now given rein once again to the destructive arm of humanity without thought or consideration to either their fellow citizens or to those who will suffer from the actions of their selfish mindlessness. This shift in the political direction of the nation may seem a small thing, but we must keep in mind it is part of a larger delinquency of the idiot philosophy of Capital Accumulation.
Just as the social revolution of the sixties started from seemingly small, singular events scattered across the globe, just as the singular event of a pistol shot at some obscure Archduke of some obscure kingdom in the early part of last century, brought about untold killing and destruction and the end of empires..as did a few renegade emperors in Gibbon’s ideal Rome..so here too, with these seemingly so comical personalities in our own politics and in the USA. and in Britain , if left unchecked, if not immediately brought to account, if not dealt with , with finality and certainty of legal action and severe judicial chastisement, will, with ALL the absolute certainty of historical evidence and proof, deal a fatal blow to the greater peace and harmony of humanity. The world more populous, the environment more delicate and in balance, the weapons of mass destruction more numerous and destructive to allow renegade imbecility to rule over accrued wisdom and knowledge..Is it better we give free rein to these fools to destroy the platform of sustainable humanity than to remove them from office?
If we are to understand our “social contract” with history and time, let us embrace the historical truth of THIS moment in time and fully believe that in the case of the environment, social cohesion and future happiness, the time for action is here and now.
There can be NO pardoning with facile humorous dismissal and a fatuous waving of hand, that insidious intent and blind imbecility so obviously displayed by those of criminal intellect that will lead this nation and the rest of the Western World to certain perdition. If we are to have RULE OF LAW…then let us for humanities sake..for our own nation’s sake…. USE IT!