Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs has been by the bed and by my side for the past few days, and it is a considerable work! It very elegantly unpicks the rise and fall of civilizations, the push of the new and the complicit yielding of the old.
She beautifully shows how such a thing as a “dark age” where people starve, become naked in the wild again, lose skills, forget their own history, become as helpless as children, can occur in a relatively short time. The work is a real tonic for those of us who ever wondered why, in the wake of all the advances made by the Roman Empire, we managed to slide back into the swamp for so long.
The ability to forget under pressure, the manipulation of human memory – would appear to be key. As does the moment when a “community” loses sight of the spoken word and the setting of the self as an example/exemplar. Higher Education becomes tokenistic, government becomes one dimensional and facile, religious belief becomes drill by rote. The peeling away of substance, the erosion of personal agency. The memory of where you came from all but lost…
The bells are ringing, all the time, friends, All the time.