Thursday, January 23, 2020

822: The Cyclical Pessimist....

The cyclical pessimist does not dispute that things are going pretty well at the moment, but that our modern progress is unique. 
World history knew more of such periods of relative prosperity and peace, according to the cyclical pessimist, but they will end sooner or later. 
World history is one of eternal return. Fat years and lean years alternate with each other, just like war and peace, and the human condition always remains the same. 
Now we seem to be doing well, but in the face of history that is just a local swing, a wave on the water. 
The prototype of the cyclical pessimist is the German historian Oswald Spengler (1880 - 1936). 
In his infamous book "Decline of the West " from 1918, Spengler describes civilizations as living organisms. 
Just like animals and plants, they grow up, reach adulthood and then die. 
The lifespan of an average civilization is, according to Spengler, a few thousand years, and the western civilization 
was at the beginning of the twentieth century in the winter time, the last stage before the downfall. 

You can reread this in our lectures 732 to 736 of our previous project at
Apart from the contemporary followers of Oswald Spengler, such as the cultural pessimist Sid Lukkassen, a Dutch political philosopher and writer, cyclical pessimism is now emerging in a completely different form.
 A good example is the book "The Invisible Hand" by economist Bas van Bavel, a Dutch historian and professor at the university of Utrecht. 
Van Bavel discovers a cyclical pattern in the life of market economies, which leads to an ominous picture of the future. 
Just like previous market economies, ours will perish again. 
The first symptoms of decay, such as the concentration of wealth in a small elite, are now already visible. 
The cyclical school of pessimism and the 'Just-Wait-And-See' school partly overlap. 
Both have the prospect of a period of downfall and decline, but with 'Wait and See' thinkers it is usually a lot more dramatic and abrupt.
Cyclical thinkers speak of decadence and slow decay, 
"Just wait" doom thinkers think of a sudden collapse. 
The danger of cyclical thinking is above all that it can quickly turn into cynicism. 
Anyone who believes that our prosperity and peace can continue, if we take a good approach, is naive in the eyes of cyclical thinkers. 
They see the bigger picture: the graphs are going up today, but tomorrow they will inevitably go down again. 
Prosperity comes and goes, like the tides of the sea.
Thank you for your attention again .....

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Dagblad TROUW (2019)

The Discussion

[13:17] herman Bergson: Question you really believe this....
[13:18] herman Bergson: Why is there this inclination to believe that it cant go on this HAS to collapse..
[13:18] herman Bergson: that is what the pessimists expect...
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and WW3 will soon start and everything terrible will again repeat itself and ON AND ON
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like that
[13:19] herman Bergson: Exactly Bejiita.....
[13:19] Al Michigan: but, mr berson, what about a cyclical optimist, if they do not excist, their counterparts wont exsict either, or...?
[13:19] herman Bergson: So weird....but people seem to expect it.....
[13:20] herman Bergson: Cant be true that things go so well for such a long time...
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): esp now with Trump as president but at least he have not managed to start WW3 yet even if he in my eyes is a little like Hitler. a dangerous ego spreading a hate mob
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and for now all seems stable
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): after what he did with Iran before
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so id say there is still hope
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that the cucle will not repeat and all will continue on calmly and in peace
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cycle
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but I was a bit worried a while there
[13:22] herman Bergson: Let's leave Trump inthe refrigerator todaym, Bejiita...I am dine with that theme  :-)
[13:22] Al Michigan: hitler was a person who brought everyone behind one goal, he was a uniter ( with a vitim), trum is divider
[13:22] Al Michigan: trump is therefore no hitler.
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well there are differences for sure
[13:22] Al Michigan: opens refrigerator.
[13:22] herman Bergson: No Trump issues here today please...leave that to the Americans....
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but in any case I think (and hope) that everything will continue on and not go down in a bad cycle again
[13:23] CB Axel: I don't think I'll live long enough to see the cycle swing upward again.
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but I get the cyclic idea and how it indeed is similar to the "just wait" peimist
[13:23] herman Bergson: That idea of cycles is just a human construct.....
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its probably because there have been cycles before that they think it have to repeat again
[13:24] Al Michigan: i think  the cycle has a real reason,  and is not a cycle at all, i think it is because it is so hard to educate your kids the same way as you was raised yourself, because the experiences differ, youngsters cannot have their parents experiences.
[13:24] herman Bergson: there aren't no laws  of physics that corroberates such an idea
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like dinosaur extinction, WW1, WW2 etc with prosper periods in between
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): up and down
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats my theory
[13:25] Al Michigan: if the students off today had had a life like mine, they would not be snowflakes.
[13:25] CB Axel: Like the tides, I think the ups and downs happen at different times in different places.
[13:26] CB Axel: Just because it's going down where I am doesn't mean it's not going up for someone else.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes CB...things go well ao worse...but there is no lawlike structure in it in my opinion.....
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:26] herman Bergson: It just depends on accidental circumstanses
[13:27] Al Michigan: yeah cb, huge societies learn from each otyher... as a result,  in India they ll learn also how to make tuff cheap , as the chinese are now  getting their oen china in africa, afrika is going to  be the  new china, especially for china it self
[13:27] herman Bergson: Sociologist try to find such "laws" and never found them,, I'd say
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:28] CB Axel: So it has nothing to do with wealth gaps?
[13:28] herman Bergson: Could you, please , stick yt our rules Al...see the sign on my pulpit here and read the rules
[13:29] herman Bergson: What do you mean CB?
[13:29] Al Michigan: what did i do now?
[13:30] herman Bergson: You didn't read our rules of engagement, Al
[13:30] Al Michigan: i did!
[13:30] CB Axel: I'm not a historian, but it seems that some societies fall when wealth is concentrated in a small number of people.
[13:31] CB Axel: The poor eventually rise up and change things.
[13:31] CB Axel: But, like I said, I'm no historian.
[13:31] herman Bergson: Then be more short in your remarks
[13:31] Al Michigan: i do not recognise that in history
[13:32] Al Michigan: the romans fell because their money lost all  value
[13:32] CB Axel: Not in the French revolution or the Russian revolution?
[13:32] herman Bergson: Interesting observation CB, becaue that is the criticism of today....
[13:32] herman Bergson: 2000 billionaires posses more than 60%+ of the wold population
[13:33] herman Bergson: Tha gap between poor and rich is increasing by the day
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sadly yes
[13:33] Al Michigan: yeah thatt gap goes faster and faster
[13:33] Al Michigan: goes =  grows
[13:33] CB Axel: I need to check the internet for instructions on how to build a guillotine.
[13:33] CB Axel: Maybe IKEA makes one.
[13:34] herman Bergson: YEs it has :-)
[13:34] Al Michigan: the wood they used is no onger easily avialable
[13:34] herman Bergson: One with a rost free blade :-)
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I have angle grinders
[13:34] Al Michigan: the blade just need enough weight,
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and I KNOW how to use them
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): !l
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:34] herman Bergson: Bu tthe revolutions you mention, CB,  complicated situations...
[13:35] herman Bergson: But in a way it is true that the rich ahd to pay...
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): french revolution repeat?
[13:35] Al Michigan: nowadays,m the rich are helped by  tons  oof minions
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the issue is they just never get happy and just want MORE MORE AND MOROORRRE! because its status they think
[13:36] CB Axel: I need to learn to knit and collect names to put into my knitting. :)
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sigh
[13:36] Al Michigan: the banks, cops army  government will all  defend them
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes...the problem is that to be rich is related to be powerful....
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:36] herman Bergson: always has been
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I just see them as boasters thinkig they are better then everyonel else because they have luxury cars and wash champagne down the drain
[13:37] Al Michigan: yeah ,  like Soros introducing Obama, and paying for his campaigns
[13:37] herman Bergson: Indeed Bejiita....
[13:38] herman Bergson: It is not the politicians that govern, but it is the big money that governs....
[13:38] herman Bergson: Politicians only rule where there is no profit to gain....
[13:39] herman Bergson: like in education or healthcare of military
[13:39] CB Axel: There is money to be made in all those.
[13:39] Al Michigan: yeah the whole education is now down the drain in the west
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but shouldn't!
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but it still happens
[13:39] herman Bergson: true CB....:-)
[13:40] herman Bergson: Just crossed my mind...
[13:40] CB Axel: That's why we have charter schools, private medical insurance, and military industries.
[13:40] herman Bergson: OK..You can impeach me CB :-)
[13:40] CB Axel: LOL
[13:40] CB Axel: Never
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hahaha
[13:41] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation again...:-)
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): great again!
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:41] Al Michigan: but the goverment see the c harter schools as a treat
[13:41] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:41] Al Michigan: threat
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lets keep the optimism flowing
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): !
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:41] CB Axel: This may be the kind of pessimist I am.
[13:41] herman Bergson: Don't worry...Bejiita....
[13:41] CB Axel: I'll wait for the last one to decide.
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:42] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and class! :-)
[13:42] herman Bergson: one pessimist to go and then a project on Optimism :-)
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and 4 different of these?
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sure
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:42] CB Axel: Will we learn what kind of optimist you are?
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time thursday
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:43] herman Bergson: Oh..I can tell you right now CB...:-)
[13:43] CB Axel: Can you let us guess?
[13:43] CB Axel: After the lectures? LOL
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye all
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu
[13:43] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye :-)
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Bejiita
[13:44] herman Bergson: Sorry, but there will be a whole series of lectures on optimism, CB :-))
[13:44] CB Axel: I'll wait to hear them all. :)
[13:44] CB Axel: In the meantime, I'll see you all Thursday.
[13:44] herman Bergson: You're welcome...and will live with a smile ^_^
[13:44] CB Axel: Bye
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye CB:)
[13:45] herman Bergson: Bye CB


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