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Cyclical Theories

The cyclical theorists also see a series of stages  through which societies must pass. But, in stead of ending in a "final" stage of perfection, they see a return to the starting point for  another. round.Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), a German  philosopher, saw each great civilization passing through successive stages of birth, growth, and decline, with the' completed. cycle covering about a thousand years. He attracted ·attention mainly because of his colorful  ms day predictions in. The Decline of the West 926). Primitive grokking (1889-1968) was a Russian · sociologist WA,,0 fled to the United States after the revolution seawall great civilizations in an endless cycle of three cultural systems: (1) the idealization culture, guided by supernatural
beliefs and values; (2) the idealistic culture, in which a blend of supernatural beliefs  and evidence-based rationality creates the ideal society; and (3) the senate culture, in which sensations are the test of reality and the goal ~f life. In his Social and Cultural Dynamics (1941), he viewed modem Western civilization as rotten and soon to collapse, to
be followed by a new idealization culture. Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975), an English historian, also viewed the fate of great civilizations as birth, growth, decay, and death. The twenty-one great civilizations all arose in response to some challenge, and all have died except Western civilization, which is moving into the later stages of decay [1935-1961). All these cyclical theories are interesting, and all are supported by mountains of sup porting detail. But to identify, accurately date, and compare thousands of items showing changes in art, literature, music, law, morals,  rade, religion, and other elements of a culture over thousands of years involves so many dubious records and so much selection and guesswork that the data base for the theories is untrustworthy. And these theories do not explain why civilizations change as they do, or why different societies respond so differently
to a challenge. The theories are entertainingbut
not entirely convincing

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