The World Cup 2018 has begun. Not only in the sporting arenas in Russia, but literally all over the world people are being absorbed by this mega sporting-event: even here on Steemit several contests and betting-pools have popped up.
picture by RonnyK - source: pixabay.com
As much as I like the joy and festivities surrounding the World Cup, I cannot help but feel a bit worried as well. And it's not even the World Cup itself, but the more general observation that something as trivial as soccer is able to occupy so much of our collective attention and energy; attention and energy that's better spent on the things that could really improve our lives or solve some of the very real problems we face as a species.
With the World Cup we experience in a concentrated and inflated manner the same thing that bothers me in day to day life; we live in an age of "bread and games" or "bread and circuses" as that other declining empire, Rome, used to call it. As the Romans used their gladiatorial contests to distract the masses from the self-enriching and economy-killing practices of the powers that be, we seem to fare no better with constant distractions like sports, TV-Chefs and Big Brother- or Voice Of [insert your favorite country here]-celebrities.
We now live, as I see it, in an age of decadence, as described in "The Fate Of Empires" by Sir John Glub. He studied the rise, growth, decline and fall of several great empires and saw a lot of similarities between them. So much even that he was able to distinguish six stages of development in all of them: the age of Pioneers, the age of Conquest, the age of Commerce, the age of Affluence, the age of Intellect and closing with the age of Decadence.
picture by Diliff - source: Wikipedia
I can easily recognize the stages in our current capitalist empire, and I can also see the common features Sir Glub attributed to the age of Decadence. A few key characteristics of this stage are a huge gap between rich and poor, an abnormally sized, over-extended military, the constant need for instant gratification, an abnormal focus on sex, the best food and the best games. Avery age of decadence has their over-payed sports heroes and fancy celebrity cooks.
So, the question I ask is this: is Trump one of the last emperors of "our" empire? Is he the very last maybe? The last Emperor, Obama, managed to get rewarded a Nobel Prize for Peace, while conducting armed conflicts in seven countries simultaneously while we were too distracted by his minion's bread and games. I wonder if this one can do better... Anyhow, in the below video you can watch the characteristics of an empire in decline, and decide for yourself if they apply to our times:
The 7 Signs Of An Empire In Decline
But seriously: keep enjoying the World Cup please! I don't want to rob anyone of the celebrations shared with this big a community! Just remember it's only a game and don't let it steer you away from the things that are really important in your lives. Cheers!
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