Download Crisis of Our Age by Pitirim A. Sorokin PDF

By Pitirim A. Sorokin

This can be an research of the character, motives and outcomes of the main issue of recent society. Professor Sorokin asserts that the complete of recent tradition is present process a interval of transition as a result of the fight among the forces of the mostly outworn materialistic order and the rising, inventive forces of a brand new idealistic order. at the end result of this fight, the writer contends, rests the development and survival of mankind.

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Sample text

If the world were to end today in a nuclear firestorm, one of the largest surviving collections of human documents would be written in cuneiform on clay dug up from the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers thousands of years ago. I was at the University Museum in Philadelphia to give a public lecture on how the Sumerians shaped Western civilization. For thirty years I have been fascinated with the Sumerians and their legacy to Greece, Rome, Europe, and ultimately the United States. When I was in graduate school, I taught myself Sumerian cuneiform just for some useful lessons from history || 41 the pleasure of being able to read the oldest written documents in their original form.

The Romans built a magnificent civilization, but it collapsed under its own weight as greedy citizens fought and bought their way to imperial privilege. Napoleon captured the energy of a people who had fought a revolution against a repressive monarchy, only to have his own empire collapse under the combined pressure of the other European powers. Twice in the twentieth century Germany tried to expand its reach, and twice it was beaten back. In all of the 5,000 years of history that begins with Steve Tinney’s clay tablets there are few, if any, cases of a single social or political entity enduring for more than a few centu- 48 || ENDANGERED SPECIES ries.

And it wasn’t just because someone came along who was stronger and imposed his rule upon an unwilling population. Monarchies and other forms of absolute governments arose to solve problems, even if they created an even bigger set along the way. Lenin and Hitler each arose from the democratic chaos surrounding the collapse of monarchy—in neither Russia nor Germany could representative governments take hold and form a workable social system. Lots some useful lessons from history || 47 of people voted for Hitler.

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