CATEGORIES

Killing Alexander Tytler

Eric Wilson - 2014

Self-determination is fleeting for any culture.  It follows a historically well-established cycle of rise and fall.  Looking at the Alexander Tytler he believed the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years and all of them move from bondage to freedom and affluence and back to bondage again. 
 The concept from Alexander Tytler is an intriguing one. Understanding that there are cycles that do seem to repeat, the Tytler Cycle as an explanation of civilizations is plausible.  Second placing our current situation and understanding of current events into perspective to our known history of our society it does give rational for what we are experiencing and explanations for parts of our past.
In his cycle societies starts out in bondage, meaning no or very limited freedoms. Now faced with a very difficult situation (bondage), they turn to religion and religious faith (awakening). Through this they achieve the (courage) they need to fight for and win their freedom (Liberty). Next, through the benefits of freedom they achieve (abundance) in material things.  With abundance we get (selfishness) and laziness setting in. Then we get (apathy) and finally (dependence). Then we arrive back up at the top with (bondage) again.
 It is easy to fall into the trap of looking at this cycle and comparing it to the current headlines and placing us somewhere at the time this was written between dependence and bondage.  We see a record amount of debt, fundamental rights being taken away, and we just topped a majority of citizens receiving more from the government than they contribute.  We register our cars, land, boats, and even need to get a marriage license so technically we register our spouse as well. If this is not bondage at minimum we are heading there from apathy allowing this to occur. 

 But what about a time when a quarter of the workforce face assistance without jobs, hundreds of thousands more people finding themselves homeless forced to live in what they dubbed hoovervilles or communities segregated, created, and controlled by the government.  What about the laws forcing what business could or could not sell and even how they could sell them.  This unconstitutional law went as far as detailing how and what chickens a kosher butcher sold.  For those that did achieved success the government would take close to 80 cents of every dollar they made in taxes more than doubling our current tax rates we see today.  For that era was it liberty, abundance, or ask them would they place themselves in the final stages of this cycle. Guess what, that is exactly what they did say.
 Then, as today, societies were uncertain about the future and strive to repair the liberties we feel have been lost. The problem is we have a bias, we know what we know now through the prism of what we are living. And like Alexander Tytler this generally makes all of us half right.
 There may or may not be credence to a general lifespan of civilizations of 200 – 250 years but we see fundamental issues with placing the progression of a long or super cycle as described by Tytler.  It is far more likely that cultures experience 1 to 3 smaller waves or cycles each 77– 86 years in length.  Each repeating cycle instead with its own awakening and abundance but also each cycle climaxing in bondage or a crisis that either resets, rebirths, or spells the end for the culture. 
 We find similarities in each of these smaller cycles that lend themselves to parts of the Tytler long cycle but we see them repeating from generation to generation knitting the details of fabric between the birth and collapse of any civilization.
 From the ashes of a crisis we have a (rebirth) and (budding) new renaissance to community. From the outward reconstruction culture begins to reevaluate inwardly and brings forth a re-(awakening). In the new high it brings (abundance) which leads to (gluttony) and then (complacency). In apathy and complacency it allows (reliance) and bondage and then builds back to the next crisis or (destruction) of this cycle.
While the components are similar to the Tytler long cycle we see this cycle of rebirth, budding, awakening, abundance, gluttony, complacency, reliance, and destruction replay itself ever approximately 82 years.  And like a tree or flower at the end of ever cycle we have the option or opportunity for life to become dormant for a season, death, or a rebirth of something new. 

This can be good or bad news.
Weather you call it bondage by Tytler measure or reliance by our Culture Cycles it is clear, at the time this was written, we are at the end of a cycle.  History has been here before in the Glorious Revolution, The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, and World War II. Each cycle a future was unsure and survival for that civilization was uncertain.  We are back at that crossroads and that next culture cycle will find its own path feed by the actions of today. 
 Will we see liberty dormant, the rebirth of something new, or the death of what we once loved?