Article Title: Civilisational collapse has a bright past – but a dark future
The article at hand discusses why the breakdown of past civilizations might have been a mixed bag of bad and good, but why, if a breakdown was to happen in the future, the outcomes would likely be all, or mostly, bad. The fall of several civilizations of the past, like the Egyptian and the Mesoamerican, were not only ‘dark’, as history suggests. History suggests famine and an increase in crime through a short, sudden destruction period, but the fall might have been gradual, with improvement in the living conditions of the non-elite even as the elite suffered. History is documented by the elite, at least it was in the past, so times were called ‘dark’ if they treated the elites unfairly. In reality, alternative lifestyles and politics grew and led to improvement. However, if a breakdown happened in modern times, we might not be lucky enough to have good effects only, or even escape the bad. This is due to several reasons. One, we are more reliant than ever on infrastructure controlled by the elite. Two, we lack practical knowledge about things like weapons and tools which may help us survive in times of a collapse of established order. Three, with the world being increasingly more armed with deadly weapons, a collapse may entail all-out, deadly war. Four, the systems the modern world uses are more interconnected and susceptible to destruction. In light of all these factors, collapse might have suited the earlier world, but it probably won’t suit us.
Words to learn from this article:
Calamitous: something extremely harmful, sad or dangerous in nature, apocalyptic.
Cannibalism: the process of people consuming other people as food.
Apocalypse: widespread destruction.
Protracted: extended for a longer duration than necessary.
Catastrophe: an event of large scale and very impactful destruction.
Ecocide: the gradual decay of the ecology, environment or biosphere of some place.
Pastoralist: a farmer owning cows and/or sheep.
Cascading: kicking off a domino effect.
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