“In the past men were handsome and great (now they are children and dwarfs), but this is merely one of the many facts that demonstrate the disaster of an aging world. The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life, and Martha no longer loves the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels, Lucretius becomes a women. Everything is on the wrong path.” ~ Umberto Eco’s description of fourteenth century Europe (in his novel The Name of the Rose). Eco's words can be used to describe the dilemma of modernity. Decades of easy life has imbued people in the major democracies with the notion that the good times will last forever and that it is their birthright to live in a free, prosperous, and stable society. This has turned them into children and dwarfs. They are no longer capable of being handsome and great, and the fate of their civilization is uncertain.
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