Civilizational Collapse and the Brain

Before I begin: I want to thank Dave at The Right Way for having given me the opportunity to guest post.  But I do think it's time to strike off on my own.  So I hope you enjoy my first post, and come back often.  I'll try to keep it lively.

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This is a rewrite of a prior essay, The Atrophy of Civilization.  I’ve expanded on – and IMHO strengthened – the basic concept, combined it with other thoughts from other essays, as well sharpened its focus to the Islamic invasion specifically.  Other consequences of the main hypothesis proposed below will be discussed in later essays.

“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




In this essay I will weave together three disparate and seemingly-unconnected things to paint a picture of what I see as the fundamental threat to Western Civilization.


THREAD ONE: THE CIVILIZATIONAL PULSE

I have watched, and re-watched, and re-re-watched, a fantastic lecture given by Bill Whittle: The Assault On Civilizational Structures (1 hour, 44 minutes).  He talks about many fascinating and intertwined topics but at about 53:02 he starts to discuss what he sees as critical issue facing our civilization, specifically the heartbeat of civilizations and the threat civilizations face from within – I agree!  He describes a pattern that happens time and again throughout humanity’s entire history.  Civilizations, he says, start small, rise slowly, accelerate, reach a peak where they are dominant and unstoppable… and then collapse.  More importantly, the collapse happens almost overnight – “It's virtually like a strobe-light; it's almost instantaneous” – and he adds that we in the West are in a “rather ripe place”, something with which I also agree (and I wish I didn’t).  Seconding this is the soon-to-be-released film The Fight of Our Lives – Defeating the Ideological War Against the West in which historian Niall Ferguson observes in the trailer:

“Civilizations, empires, great powers can fall apart very fast.  Collapse can come quickly, like a thief in the night.”

Whittle also points out is that the civilization “always” falls from the top down; he says that while the common person is willing to lay down their life to defend it, it’s “some silk-robed son of a bitch” (SRSOB) from the palace who goes down to the city gates and opens them.  Remember this point as it’ll prove critical.

So let me bring in another 90-minute video with Whittle talking with Stefan Molyneux, On the Brink of War and Economic Collapse | Bill Whittle and Stefan Molyneux.  At about 14:20 they discuss a very good analogy to our modern culture-of-plenty, infinite-resource mentality our current civilization has, Whittle observes: “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.”  But watch the whole thing.  Fascinating.

But the question is simple: why does this happen?  Whittle offers an explanation, and while I think he’s spot-on with his view I believe there are further depths to be plumbed in answering this critical question.  Once I saw the above videos, others besides, plus articles based on the book by Anonymous Conservative: The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans, Third Edition, I kept asking WHY as in The Five Whys.


THREAD TWO: THE WORRY STRUCTURE

My last academic exposure to biology was in high school; I took AP Biology.  But I’ve read a lot since then as well and firmly believe that "The day you stop learning is the day you stop living…."  So I’m always trying to broaden my knowledge set; I’ve been reading an excellent history series, The Hinges of History (link to kindle edition), and each has been amazing.  After I finish them and a book sent to me by Professor Walter Williams, it’s on to another sizable history series by historian Victor Davis Hanson.  And somewhere in there I need to slip in Vision of the Anointed by Dr. Thomas Sowell.  And the above book by Anonymous Conservative.  And the psychology book below.  All in my copious free time, of course…

Let me state what I think is a fundamental axiom: animals that do not recognize and then react to threats do not pass their genes onward (Whittle touches on that in his speech).  Related to that threat-recognition –> fear –> fight/flight survival response are two small almond-sized structures in the brain called the amygdalae – to which Whittle has referred repeatedly in several video pieces – which have been shown to be intimately related to threat recognition:

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.

While some studies point to people with larger amygdalae being more anxious, let’s not pretend that being anxious is a purely-negative trait.  Being anxious – worrying – can lead to being more cautious, which I will again opine is a survival trait.  Interestingly, there is an apparent male-female difference in these structures as well, with men having larger amygdalae structures.  But regardless, the overall correlation seems clear: people with more developed and larger amygdalae tend to be far more attune to potential threats – and, based on some articles, are more readily prone to aggression versus passivity once a threat is perceived.

So, in general, the larger and more developed the amygdalae are, the more likely one is to recognize threats and then take action.


THREAD THREE: ATROPHY OF NEURAL FUNCTIONS

Back in college I took a Psychology course.  Turned off by the Skinner-obsession of the department – I’m afraid I’m something of a Freudian, actually, believing that humanity lives in the eternal tension between the Id (the earthly animal) and Superego (the Divine soul) – it did, however, pique my interest.  In class I learned of a series of experiments in which monkeys were deprived of certain stimuli early in life, usually visual, resulting in an inadequate if not outright inability ability to recognize these stimuli as adults.  Discussed in the book The Brain that Changes Itself, which I’ve bought but have not gotten around to, I’ve been told by the person who told me about the book that my recollection of those experiments was correct.  Two more modern experiments (among many), Experience in Early Infancy Is Indispensable for Color Perception, and The Influence of Binocular Visual Deprivation on the Development of Visual-Spatial Attention, confirm this effect: a lack of stimulation of a brain structure in infancy and developmental years often leads to deficiencies in performance of that structure in adulthood.

So before I present my hypothesis and supporting evidence in weaving these threads together, let me ask you – dear reader – when’s the last time you felt an actual fight-or-flight, afraid-for-your-life state of fear?  Assuming you grew up in America (or the First World in general), odds are good that as a child you never experienced such fear.  Consider that, at least in America, helicopter parents insulate children from even slight boo-boos and rush to administer sprays filled with pain killers and antibiotics within seconds…

And unless in the military or other dangerous profession, probably never experienced it even as an adult. 


THE HYPOTHESIS

Any advanced and thriving civilization has large numbers of people – especially at the top of the pile – who are comfortable and safe, and are so for generations.  This lack of meaningful threats, from birth onward, causes the amygdalae structures in the brain to not fully develop compared to prior, more stressed, generations because of a lack of stimulation; thus, the ability to recognize actual threats has atrophied.  This leads to the society as an aggregate, and the leadership class in particular, taking actions that they do not recognize as dangerous, which result in the collapse of the civilization.


THE DOOR TO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE

Read this example to set the stage – sorry for the length of the excerpt.  A gay man living in Norway – an immigrant from America – and his partner ended up talking with a Norwegian woman in a café.  Apparently this woman vacationed regularly, and even owned a house, in Turkey for, shall we say, “amorous adventures”:

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.

Three things come to mind on this.

  1. This Turk who had just beaten the Finnish woman to a pulp was, without doubt, laughing his ass off after the end of the call.
  2. The second point is the utter naiveté on the part of the woman who thought this screaming and bluff-threat had “handled it”.
  3. This is the key point: 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 by going there, as exemplified by what had just happened to a friend at the hands of one of the boy-toys she herself engages.

So to provide some background sources to sample on what’s going on, go peruse these sites after you read this, and then I suggest reading this essay again – and I recommend making these sites daily reads:

Bare Naked Islam
Creeping Sharia
Gates of Vienna
Gatestone Institute
Jihad Watch
Pamela Geller
Save My Sweden
SPEISA
The Religion of Peace
Vlad Tepes
Voice of Europe

Now, in light of rising robberies, arsons, assaults, rapes, and murders from these invaders, a crime explosion that is now being acknowledged as caused by these invaders, boggle at the reaction of politicians – legions of them plus endless unelected bureaucrats – and all in favor of this ongoing stream of invaders.  From African exodus 'of biblical proportions' heading for Europe (link in original):

Not everyone sees this as a negative event, however. In 2013 the deranged former Swedish Minister of Finance, Anders Borg, said that he hoped Sweden will look like Africa in about ten years. He said that he sees benefits in Sweden becoming more multicultural and takes after the Africans.

And:



Some of these politicians even call the invasion beautiful.  They’ve lost their survival instinct.


THE GATES ARE OPEN




They rape our women and the gates are still wide open.  They slaughter our children, and the gates are still wide open.  They plan to poison our food and water, and the gates are still wide open.  Countries that don’t want this invasion are taken to court to be bent to the will of these SRSOBs and excoriated in the public arena.  They’re creating apps to help them come.  Hell, they’re flying the invaders in to make sure they get safely to the NO-GO zones of already-conquered territory (e.g., Holland, France, Germany, Norway, Britain, Sweden, and Belgium. Even in the US: in Dearborn, women walk around in burkhas and signs are in Arabic; I was there in 2008, it looked like a piece of the Middle East had been transplanted!  In Minnesota, check out the Mall of America!) and then politicians and the enemedia deny these zones exist and actively hold the gates wide open.  Judges overturn clear precedent supporting President Trump’s travel ban, which then permits the flood of Islamic Hijra to continue.

The gates were opened by SRSOBs – and they’re being held open by those same “silk-robed SOBs” even as the city burns and the invaders do what every invader has ever done throughout history.


SHARIA APPLIED

This atrophy of threat recognition is, I think, the only thing that explains this.




I know several gay people and two transgender people, and they’re all for more Muslim immigration.  I read articles like this and think “Do gay (and transgender) people not understand that under Sharia law the best possible outcome they could hope for is a quick death?”

“Where is your survival instinct?”

I read about spiraling rape stats, and assaults like this one related by a German victim, explicit permission in Islam to rape infidel women, and myriad other sex crimes across Europe like this horror:

The woman died while being raped. Police say the perpetrator continued to rape the woman’s corpse well after she had died. The Somalian was apprehended by the police while still in the act of raping the murdered woman.





Do women not understand that, under Sharia, they count as half a man?  That their best-case scenario under Sharia is nothing more than a sex receptacle and baby factory?  That their Muslim husband can beat them if they disobey, can rape them whenever he wants, that he can divorce them by saying “I divorce you!” three times, including via text message?  That if they are raped it takes two male witnesses to clear them from adultery charges?  That if their daughters are not married and have sex with their boyfriend, or date a non-Muslim boyfriend, that their own father could kill them?  That odds are their daughter from a Muslim husband will be held down and her clitoris cut off?

“Where is your survival instinct?”

And within living memory of the Shoah (Holocaust) and the near annihilation of our people, my fellow Jews in America want more Islamic refugees to America… despite Synagogues in France (let alone elsewhere in Europe) needing armed guards 24/7 and even concertina wire atop newly-installed high fences with closed-circuit cameras for protection against those very same refugees.  Synagogues are firebombed by Islamists, Rabbis openly talk about needing protection to live openly-Jewish lives, anti-Semitism is rising, Muslims across Europe scream “Jews, remember Khaybar” – a reference to a battle where Mohammed slaughtered Jews en masse.  Despite all these, and Imams all over calling for Jews to be killed – in Houston, in California, in Holland, in North Carolina, everywhere (three alone since President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital) – and the historical precedent of Mohammed himself and the anti-Semitism codified in the Koran itself… Jews write letters to the editor wanting more migrants. 

“Where is your survival instinct?”

And in general, just listen to this video and boggle at the actions of the media and the politicians favoring the invaders over their own.



In Sweden, the police are too busy investigating murders to worry about pursuing rape investigations.  People – like this woman who was a child bride in Iran and who grew up under Sharia law – give lectures based on their own personal experience and people say “I don’t believe it” and outright reject the first-hand experience of someone who grew up in a Sharia-run countryWe have attacks all over, whether Europe or America or elsewhere, where the attackers scream their war cry, Allahu Akhbar! – Allah is greater! – and are heard to do so, but it is dismissed within seconds as “mental illness” and politicians battle to see who can tongue-bathe the feet of the invaders with the greatest fervor.

“WHERE IS YOUR SURVIVAL INSTINCT???????????”


THE THREAT – NOT WHAT IT SEEMS

The Islamic invasion by migration – Hijra – let alone their greater birth rate than those in the West are calamitous.  But they’ve invaded before, and outbred us before, and we’ve beaten them back before.  Those are definitely existential threats, but they’re not the fundamental threat.  So what is the fundamental threat?

The threat is that this time so many are blind to it thanks to the atrophy of our threat-recognition – victims of our own civilization’s success. 

Our leaders, who have lost their survival instinct, actively threw open the gates to stick it to their political opponents and/or gain votes by changing the demographic makeup of their own country.  Remember what Whittle said?  It’s the “silk-robed SOBs from the palace” – those at the top who are the most comfortable and safe, those whose amygdalae are most atrophied – who betray the city.  The Ruling Class has betrayed us with the applause and help of their fellows in academia and the media.  Our cultural softness, enforced by the Frankfurt School’s shield of Political Correctness, keeps us silent even as our civilization dies.  Fortunately, those days seem to be ending, and people who still value the West are sharpening their edges for battle.


RECOVERING WHAT HAS BEEN LOST

So how do we revive the survival instinct?  Whether we can in our generation, or it must be done in those coming up, I will not claim to be wise enough to know, via Divine Knowledge, what The Solution might be… but I think some things jump out as obvious to start revitalizing the survival instinct.  My focus, being a parent, is on children:

  1. Physical activity for kids; lots of it.  Limit or, ideally, turn off the iPad and other games… screen time in general.  Attempt to cultivate an attitude of life-long physical activity.  One element of this should be learning how to fight – some kind of serious, i.e., not sport, but practical combat art.
  2. Genuine competition is critical; things have winners and losers.  Have standards against which children are measured; no grade inflation or relaxing of rules.  Set high goals.  No participation trophies.
  3. End “helicopter parenting”.  My wife is always after the kids to stop any dangerous stuff; I tend to view things through a “Will that be life threatening, or permanent-injury causing?” lens.  “Just a flesh wound” means I’ll let ‘em learn experientially.  (My son broke a couple of bones last summer back doing something stupid.  Odds are good he won’t do that again.)
  4. “Dangerous stuff”, for both boys and girls.  Which means I’ll taking them fishing and target shooting.  When they’re older we’ll attend survival school, and we’ll go hiking and hopefully hunting.  Even now I’m teaching them about edible plants, and lecturing them about the imperative to not trust everyone at first sight.
  5. Education; about real history, wars, starvation, and so on, imbuing an understanding that for the vast scope of human history, and even in a cross section of humankind today, the life we live in Western society is the exception, not the norm – and therefore priceless and worthy of being defended.  If you can, get kids out of the public schools lest this be the environment they land in: How a Cult Infiltrated the California Institute of Integral Studies.
  6. Responsibility for actions, and for making decisions.  Being an adult requires both, and in particular the ability to make decisions means bumping up against the often-encountered situation where there is no truly “good” choice, but the weighing of trade-offs and then accepting the consequences.  And make them own the decisions they make; no take-backs.
  7. In parallel with decision-making is the idea of restraint and delayed gratification.  My son loves to play those “claw” games, and wanted a fidget-spinner.  I got him to not play a game for three weeks; we put the money saved towards buying one.  He had to wait, but he understood there was a purpose behind the waiting.
  8. Self-reliance and the need to do things for oneself.  I run into this with my own kids; it’s certainly easier to just do it myself rather than let them fumble – or spike my blood pressure with explaining umpteen times what is obvious to me.  But I’ve started to say “Go start first, and I’ll help in a minute”.  Often, by the time I’m meandering over, they’re mostly done already.
  9. Get kids, from early on, to understand that the only reason they are there is because every generation before them had children.  They owe a debt to that unbroken chain from the past – a debt to be repaid by having children in turn.  When you have to factor in having a family as an expected part of your life story, living on the wild side of self-gratification actually looks strange.  This is a part of getting them to see themselves as both individuals and “something bigger”.

What else can anyone think of?  How else can we make sure that – as kids develop and grow to adulthood – their amygdalae are properly stimulated?   And what can we do to reach out to adults to shock them enough that they grasp the nature of this threat?  Because I have been predicting for years that we could have citizens mowed down by people screaming “Allahu akhbar!” and they’d still not get it.  With that now happening, my being right, it does beg the question “Just what will it take?” – and I fear what that threshold is.

© NITZAKHON 2018

Comments

  1. Grim prognosis.

    Syria's geopolitical significance

    Communism is a bloodthirsty strategem for a K-selected group to manage an r-selected population for geopolitical advantage.

    "Capitalism", as a martial strategem, is just a petri dish of useful r-selected idiots consuming their K-selected seed corn.

    Communism's Islamists Idiots, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have themselves been manipulating the Useful States of America to, in succession, topple the most secular Middle Eastern countries...Iran, Lybia, and Syria all being made Sharia compliant.

    Islam, an invasive ideology, will bore into Western Europe and undermine its will to resist Soviet expansion. China will find Australia and New Zealand similarly tenderized.

    The USA will be balkanized with the southwest reconquista and the southeast black muslim succession.

    The communist bloc will be left free to gobble up the rotting corpses of the enlightenment bringing the remaining r-selected populations under K-selected management.

    References

    1. The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics

    2. Origins of the Fourth World War

    3. Civil War II (Thomas Chittum)

    4. The Art of War (Sun Tzu)

    "All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him." Sun Tzu - The Art of War

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