Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote from "River of Empire" by Donald Worster

Book review forthcoming, but this little gem for now:
If history teaches us anything unequivocally about empires, it is that they sooner or later begin to falter. The illusions on which they are constructed eventually begin to lose their hold over the minds of people. Contradictions begin to mount, legitimacy to crack and flake away. The unanticipated social and ecological consequences of empire become increasingly unmanageable, just as they always have, and Leviathan starts to wobble, clutching more and more frantically to panaceas......

For all its seeming motion toward some grander destiny, nature is mainly a set of cycles, a tireless repetition of old ideas. ... History is a kind of river too, returning over and over to beginnings, completing cycles, if one stands and watches long enough. How long is hard to be precise about; the time required to complete the cycle of empire cannot be predicted with any confidence. But nothing is more certain in the modern West than that the next stage after empire will be decline.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

1 comment:

Guy R. McPherson said...

Beautiful quote! Thanks for sharing this.