“For ignorance provides the happiest life”—Sophocles
Civilisation is the blossoming of human understanding, which realises wealth, order, knowledge, security, and purpose; followed by the shriveling of human understanding, which realises the opposite.
This work is a theory of civilisation; an attempt to explain what it is, why it occurs, and why it rises and falls—an achievement that has previously been beyond our speciesʼ ability. Using short words and simple arguments a suggestion is advanced that appears to make the whole matter so clear that any one can understand what it is, why it is so important, and why it goes wrong—a feat that seems to significantly improve our understanding of humanity and our private selves.
Pursuing truth carries the risk that revelations will not be pleasant, which seems to be the case here, for this tome offers little to gladden the heart. There is no joy in discovering the source of disconcerting social changes could well be a fatal incurable disease that condemns the whole of society. Despair is the overriding feeling that accompanies the belief that humanity is sinking into a new dark age.
The theory offers some small relief by explaining why events are unfolding, and hope that civilisation can rise again, cleverer and stronger, but this is little compensation to offset its grim prediction of our future. Nevertheless, the author is convinced that it is better to try to understand our fate, regardless of its awful implications, so we can direct our energies into useful rather than useless causes; and above all, it helps us distinguish between true and false, and right and wrong.