Humanity has a long history fraught with wars and disputes of all kinds. We have displayed an inability to coexist with others peacefully for any significant length of time. Despite our primal instincts we as human are drawn to order and structure. We quite frankly need to believe in something greater than ourselves in order to function for any length of time as civilized creatures. Throughout that history, we can see many examples of what happens to societies when the power structure breaks down. Humans descend into barbarism that advances to such a degree that those left standing long for a return to order and thus vigilantism gives over to structure and security in a hierarchical form. The catalyst that ignited the fires that incinerated and caused societal barriers to breakdown are forgotten, and humans once again enslave themselves to an idea.
The catalyst that destroys societies is most often a loss of belief in that which is higher than ourselves. Whether that more significant source of power is in our institutions or our Gods the effect it has on the fabric that binds us in a compact of good faith with one another is the same. When we lose faith in a higher power, we lose faith in each other and begin to see each other as enemies rather than citizens of a thriving community. We often look back and ridicule the institutions of our ancestral brethren as simplistic and rudimentary and even the people themselves. The fact is that our forms of government may differ in name and facades it relies upon the same principals that our ancestors employed throughout the history of humanity. We have not evolved to the point that would eliminate the need for these archaic power structures. We are more advanced technologically than our predecessors but are not more advanced emotionally and in many ways even less prepared to deal with our fellow humans.
Crime is always present in societies today and throughout history. Malcontents always exist and wish to cheat the system. In societies that are experiencing a breakdown, the bad actors are more numerous and inhabit the power structures that people rely on and respect. The people supply the power structure, and that structure is a direct representation of the population. Society and the halls of power become more blatant and more daring in their corruption. The people despite being corrupt themselves lash out at the disregard for the laws and institutions of the land. When the powerful no longer view their misdeeds as crimes but continue to punish the powerless, order and justice become as fairy-tales. This loss of faith has led to many low moments in human history, that has been responsible for the deaths of multitudes.
The reason we continue to exist within a pseudo-feudalism is that we have not discovered a means to tame the human beast. The same story repeats ad nauseum. Once a society has a working system that more or less keeps the peace that society inevitably descends into decadence which eventually leads to apathy for the structure and institutions that made that society possible. Some seemingly innocuous catalyst propagates a chain of events that causes order to morph into chaos which leads to deaths and upheaval and the survivors will pick up the pieces and submit themselves to a new master. Except that new master is the same as the one before it, and the cycle of regrowth and destruction continues.
We must have this structure in our lives, and we must believe in its efficacy to exist in something resembling a peaceful society. For all of our blustering in many ways, humanity seems somewhat childlike in its approach to living. We need the metaphorical big bad wolf to keep us in line, or we become that wolf and devour ourselves. We seem to be a few setbacks away from embracing our animalistic tendencies, pounding our chests, and swinging from trees. The reason these cycles continue throughout the history of humanity is that we have never fully understood what we are beyond the factual. We have advanced beyond caves, yet we find ourselves trapped within the constraints of our nature that we do not fully understand. History does repeat itself because we human beings continue to repeat every mistake of the past and despite our best efforts we do not learn. We continue down the same roads that our ancestors have trodden as ill-prepared as a caveman squaring off with a Mammoth armed with only a stone. We are the cause of societies woes. Everything that occurs has our fingerprints upon it. We are the architects of our failures and our successes. We seem to be on the verge of another cycle of degeneracy. Nothing that forms from the chaotic upheavals that follow these cycles will differ in any significant way from the structures to which humanity is now subservient. The only way we can evolve is for once in our history to break the cycle and by doing so break our very nature. This is how we advance socially and this how we create a better world for ourselves and generations to come. We musn’t eliminate order and service to a greater good but our descent into decadence and apathy that leads to decay and violence.