I was interested to know your thoughts on what is occurring world wide right now; all of the riots, wars, financial failings, and currency changes. Also looking at the decline and transformation of the American Republic and the infiltration of Eastern society into the Western world yet again. Does it seem familiar at all to you or wholely different than times past?
The difficulty of the question is this: the present is both similar to the past but entirely different. I think it is inevitable that the past seems to repeat itself because human nature is fundamentally the same as it has been for generations, centuries, thousands of years. People have not changed much over time, and so they have a tendency to behave the same as their forefathers. There have always been riots, wars, financial failings, and the falling and transition of empires. Rome’s crisis of the 3rd century was an economic crisis, for example. We’ve had numerous secular and religious wars then just as we do now, which I am sure you are aware of from any basic history class.
The only thing that has changed about war is technology. Men used to fight hand to hand, and now we sit in blinking rooms and launch missiles, and war is a waiting game of occupying spaces and hoping to flush out hidden enemies. It used to be a matter of chasing an enemy down and defeating him in combat. War is too complicated for that now. You cannot simply fight it out, but seek obscure enemies in vast and dangerous landscapes.
Yet people remain considerably distanced from war. War is fought in developing nations, or on distant lands. Countries like the United States, Britain, and France, just to name a few, do not find themselves fighting wars on their own fronts. In this way, war is something that people can ignore. In our ancient world, war was ever present. Death was ever present. We passed dead bodies in the streets, and the threat of death was a simple fact that we accepted.
So it is complex. People today are on one hand less familiar with death, while at the same time they are more comfortable with it, and ignore it easily. In fact, few care anything for it, and people ignore politics and religion, and let wars fight themselves out while people die every day.
Even the “infiltration” of Eastern society is something that has happened on numerous occasions in the past. The area of Syria would become very important in Late Antiquity, where it had fallen out of power and prominence for a while. I do hope that Eastern and Western societies can function side by side, and can foster a friendly relationship so that conflict is avoided. People are too ready to label other people the “other,” or label an enemy for arbitrary reasons of meaningless difference.
I had hoped that people would have by now progressed beyond such savagery and primitive thinking.