Thousands of Donald Trump supporters storm the United States Capitol building after a 'Stop the Steal' rally on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images via AFP Forum

“What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” – Yeshua ben Yosef, itinerant Jewish preacher in Roman Palestine in the first half of the 1st century CE

In Oswald Spengler’s narrative The Decline of the West, Faustian man, representative product of the current dominant world civilization, sold his collective soul to the Devil in return for knowledge. The Devil is now collecting his promised souls and replacing them with mathematical, and therefore, mechanical, algorithms. 

What is a “soul” after all? It is the divine spark that ignites love and empathy for all creatures. What is an “algorithm”? It is a mathematical model. A model is an answer to the question “how?”, just as a theory is an answer to the question “why?”

As a result of more and more algorithmic human beings it becomes easier and easier for robots to resemble humans – because humans are more and more resembling robots. A robot can do many things, some of them much better than humans, but it cannot feel love or empathy.  

That handful of people who invent and manipulate the algorithms have become wealthy beyond human imagination and certainly to a greater extent than any plutocratic/oligarchic group in history. Many of these malefactors of great wealth devote their resources to destroying the very civilizational model that created them. 

Governments, corporations, banks, professional firms, non-governmental organizations and high-tech companies are at their beck and call and facilitate their activities, including their collaboration with criminal syndicates and terrorist organizations.

In the meantime, great masses of individuals, who have little or no understanding of what is going on, but who do know that they have less and less control over their own lives and futures, are filling the void in their souls with what can only be described as rage, a rage that to a greater and greater extent manifests itself in widespread rioting and destruction, all over the world – from Kazakhstan to Myanmar and from Minneapolis to Washington, DC.

In reaction, populists and dictators take over from disintegrating traditional governments, whether democratic or not. Of all the countries of Latin America, for example, currently only five can still be considered stably democratic, at least for the time being, and the same pattern repeats itself in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and much of Europe.  

The decline of the West, foretold and described in great detail by Oswald Spengler a hundred years ago, is now entering its final phase. Only a concerted effort by millions of people around the world can rescue what remains of Judeo-Christian morality and Greco-Roman civil society. Will it happen?

Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, published in two volumes, in 1918 and 1922.

Norman A Bailey is the author of numerous books and articles and recipient of several honorary degrees, medals and awards and two orders of knighthood. He also teaches economic statecraft at The Institute of World Politics and has experience on the staff of the National Security Council at the White House, in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and in business, consulting and finance. He is professor emeritus in the National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and a columnist for Globes, an Israeli business and financial newspaper.