In response to:

Why Do Societies Give Up?

tgwWhale Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 2:43 PM
"All wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin is deadly" (1 John 5:16-17). The notion that there are no gradations of evil and sin is a fundamentalist falsehood. Given that, the "7 deadly sins" are not in anyone's tradition held up as worse than other sins. They are a traditional list of the bad motivations and values that lead to bad actions: pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth. Most wicked actions can be traced to these, which is why they are described as THE 7 deadly sins.

Why do once-successful societies ossify and decline?

Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, as historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure -- and who gets the most of both -- more often than poverty and exhaustion implode civilization.

One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city's takeover...