Prerequisite Essays

Should You Read This Essay?

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      The concept of decadence 1 involves a descent to a lower level or condition: atrophy, declension, declination, decline, degeneracy, degeneration, deterioration; a process, condition, or period of deterioration or decline, as in morals or art. In the world of art, decadence refers to a movement especially of late 19th-century France and England characterized by refined aestheticism, artifice, and the quest for new sensations.

      In the 1890s, decadence generally implied marked condemnation and on many occasions was used to characterize an artist's moral and spiritual depravity. In the 1930s, the German Nazi party seized hundreds of art objects it considered decadent, displaying them in an exhibit intended to show their barbarity and degradation. The art objects the Nazi party chose for its own exhibit, the Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung (Great German art exhibition), included paintings and sculptures that were narrowly traditional in treatment and that exalted the "blood and soil" values of racial purity, militarism, and obedience. As is clear to any discerning observer, the art objects the Nazis selected were as "decadent" as those they chose to ridicule in their Entarte Kunst (Decadent Art) exhibition.

      In From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present, Jacques Barzun defines decadence as "falling off." "It implies in those who live in such a time," Barzun claims, "no loss of energy or talent or moral sense. On the contrary, it is a very active time, full of deep concerns, but peculiarly restless, for it sees no clear lines of advance. The loss it faces is that of Possibility. The forms of life as of art seem exhausted, the stages of development have been run through. Institutions function painfully. Repetition and frustration are the inevitable result. Boredom and fatigue are great historical forces."

      C.E.M. Joad's 1948 book, Decadence, defines decadence as "refusal to recognize 'the object.'"

"Decadence, then, is a sign of man's tendency to misread his position in the universe, to take a view of his status and prospects more exalted than the facts warrant and to conduct his societies and to plan his future on the basis of this mis-reading. The mis-reading consists in a failure to acknowledge the non-human elements of value and deity to which the human is subject. Throughout the ensuing book I have called these elements 'the object'."

      In this essay, we'll explore the decadent elements in our current American culture, examining their deadly effects and ascertaining how we can overcome this lethal predicament. We'll define decadence as:

Substituting the counterfeit for the real

      As defined, decadence involves:

  • Losing awareness and understanding of the difference between real and counterfeit elements

  • Mistaking the counterfeit for the real

  • Celebrating the counterfeit

             When a culture 2 mistakes a con-man for a progressive leader; when it misapprehends a fabricated, war-profiteering, oil-looting assault for a legitimate struggle against terrorism; when it misconceives destruction of Constitutional liberties for authentic homeland security; when it grants tax breaks for the upper 1% of the super-wealthy as enhancing the economy; when it swallows a coverup of the 9/11 disaster as a legitimate investigation, then that culture is unquestionably decadent.


  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

         If you can't recognize and acknowledge that America's devolving into a decadent culture has led to our criminal rulers murdering American citizens, you'll want to consider whether or not reading this essay would be a waste of your time.      

      We're discussing decadence in this essay to determine its essence and to see how our deadly cultural decadence in the contemporary world can be overcome. Overall, the direction of human evolution has been an upward helical path with each new cycle of various phases achieving a higher advance. The phases include :

  • Savagery: a pre-cultural level marked by total absence of restraint; untamed and bestial
    Boticelli's painting of Athena overcoming the satyr--civilization triumphant over barbarism
  • Barbarism: a cultural level marked by violence and minimal restraint more complex than primitive savagery but less sophisticated than advanced civilization

  • The preservation and dissemination of the knowledge and values of civilized society by Perennialist savants

  • The re-awakening of the people to the knowledge and values of world culture through Perennialist teaching

  • Civilization: the level of human development characterized by civility (self-disciplined behavior), literacy (ability to read and understand what you read), appreciation for art, the rule of law not men, constitutionally guaranteed rights

  • Decadence: decline and decay of civilized factors, leading to the demise of the culture

"In history the way of annihilation is invariably prepared by inward degeneration . . . Only then can a shock from outside put an end to the whole."

Jakob Burckhardt, Force and Freedom

      America's collapse into decadence is a deadly predicament. If we don't acknowledge our fatal plight, examine its lethal consequences, and act courageously to overcome this threat, we will undoubtedly not survive as a culture--and many of us will not survive as individuals.

      It's a matter of life or death that we overcome our cultural decadence, a Dark Age in which a depraved cabal has seized power throughout the world and is deliberately destroying people's ability to see or understand, programming them to believe utter falsehoods and to be completely oblivious to their own ignorance. These cultural despots are literally dictating reality, conditioning people to a totally false fantasy-world.

      Cultural decadence is a deadly condition of contempoary America, not some banal academic theory such as Barzun's concept of "falling off." Contrary to Barzun's claim that decadence "implies in those who live in such a time no loss of energy or talent or moral sense," it is indeed a period of great dispossession of energy, talent, and moral fiber. Completely contrary to Barzun's insipid idea that decadence "is a very active time, full of deep concerns, but peculiarly restless, for it sees no clear lines of advance," decadence, as we're experiencing it to its fullest, is a period when most people lose any real concern for truth or justice but when, in esoeric circles, there is a clear line of transcendent advance.

"So essential is language to man's humanness, so deep a source is it of his own creativity, that it is by no means an accident in our time that those who have tried to degrade man and enslave him have first debased and misused language, arbitrarily turning meanings inside out."

Lewis Mumford, The Conduct of Life

      A major component of our cultural decadence is our allowing the demonic cabal to twist genuine words and meanings into corrupted, counterfeit ideas and actions. A decadent language involves particular words disappearing from effective usage--like discernment or inspiration--while other words are given such perverted meanings--such as freedom, security, democracy--that the original, genuine meanings have been lost. Corrupted meanings have so affected the thinking and behavior of American people that they've become debased and corrupted. If you want to see the most recent evidence of the decadent, suicidal thinking of Americans, just examine the ongoing cannibalism in the bursting housing bubble.

Overcoming Cultural Decadence

      To overcome cultural decadence we must first recognize that we so continually mistake the counterfeit for the genuine that we've lost comprehension of what is authentic. We no longer understand what is genuine in any dimension of human experience:

  • The purpose of human existence

  • The meaning of truth

  • Essential values

  • How humankind evolves

  • The essence of human civilization

  • How we must act to overcome our cultural decadence

      Cultural decadence is so pervasive that your ability to understand this essay--or your ability to realize the importance of these issues--may have been compromised to the point that you won't be able to comprehend what this essay is saying. Or you may only be able to react to this essay in a totally inappropriate and self-destructive manner.

     We recently presented an essay on how truth conquers ignorance, which led to the conclusion that the only way to overcome the cabal and take back our country is to join with others in intelligent, unified action in building a cooperative community.

      One person who "read" the essay responded by asking in an email: "Why is it that in later European art women are depicted as plumper than in classical art?" It's clear from his response that the person is incapable of understanding what was presented and that he's unable to respond to information in an effective manner. It's as if you shouted out to a person who's about to be pushed over a cliff to his death: "Watch out, he's pushing you off the cliff!" And the person looks around as he's falling and asks you: "What do you mean by the word 'pushing?'"

      This essay is pointing out that there is a gang of criminals who're pushing you--and our entire American culture--off the cliff. If you can't credit this warning, if you can't believe that this personal and cultural threat is true, then reading any further would be pointless.

      Do you see the American culture as decadent and recognize that this threatens our personal and national survival?



They arrested Muslims, imprisoned them, denied them legal counsel, and tortured them, but America was still reeling from 911, so I did nothing.

They smeared and fired a professor in Florida and one in Canada, but I lived in California, so I forgot about it.

They arrested a suspected terrorist who was an American citizen, incarcerated him in a military prison, and denied him judicial process; but his case seemed extreme to a lot of people so I turned a blind eye to it.

They arrested Middle Easterners with visa problems, but that was in Los Angeles, so I ignored it.

Then they began to hassle people who read Web sites that the capitalist cabal considered subversive--which included me--and then it was too late.


Analog to Martin Niemöller's Remorse

      Since you say you believe that our American culture is suffering from decadence and that we must do something about this deadly threat, it will be incumbent on you to read the remainder of this essay with an eye as to how you can overcome your own personal elements of decadent thinking and behavior, determining how you can best participate in overcoming our cultural decadence.

      Our culture has become decadent because people have adopted counterfeit ideas, values, and practices as genuine. Substituting fraudulent elements for legitimate ones, our culture has devolved into a totalitarian banana republic. Americans mistake our current situation as a relatively normal period during a war against terrorism, a time when people should seek unlimited personal pleasure. Actually, the true appraisal of our plight is:

Americans are suffering under a fascist dictator in a militarist police state.

                Why is it that Americans don't see their deadly plight when it stares them in the face?       Because our people have become completely decadent, which means among other things that they're incapable of seeing reality.          

An Exercise in Seeing

Based on the the White Rose Group:

Dissenters Against the German Nazi Party 3

      Would you say that the present American culture is of a similar decadent and tyrannical nature as the Nazi German culture under Hitler?



1 Decadence: Descent to a lower level or condition: atrophy, declension, declination, decline, degeneracy, degeneration, deterioration; a process, condition, or period of deterioration or decline, as in morals or art; decay; a literary movement especially of late 19th-century France and England characterized by refined aestheticism, artifice, and the quest for new sensations.

2 In essence, culture is the sum of all technology and values that make up human life: knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and other capabilities and habits acquired by humans as members of a society. A culture is essentially a consensual reality created by the interpersonal relations human beings establish with one another through ritualized practices and agreed principles.

3 Adapted from the movie Sophie Scholl. For additional information: