A Philosophy for the Downfall of Civilization


Seven commandments for enjoying the downfall of civilization.


During the downfall of the Roman Empire, philosophies began to spring up to help people cope with the downfall. Stoicism, for instance, taught people to place less importance on material possessions, and more importance on their internal state. When it becomes increasingly difficult to have what you want, it makes sense to convince yourself that your wants don’t matter. Since the Romans didn’t have the plethora of pharmaceuticals we have today, they learned to drug themselves with their thoughts.

So in the spirit of Stoicism, let’s formulate our own philosophy to help us cope with the American decline, in case it is happening. Here are seven commandments for such a philosophy.

1. Don’t expect anything

Expecting things makes you care too much, which is uncool. Sure, you’ll be trying like crazy to hide your desperation in your pursuit of not giving a fuck, or DGAFing. That’s okay. There will always be an undercurrent of hostility in your every pronouncement that you don’t care. Not that anybody will call you on this, because calling people out is decidedly hostile.

2. Just be yourself

Improving yourself in a declining civilization is like making a hooker laugh. Sure, you can do it, but it’s more for you than her. And the more you just be yourself, the more you’ll tell other people to just be themselves, which is a calming energy to be around. Oh yeah, concern for having a calming energy is important if your ambition stops at existing. You’ll know you’re adhering well to this commandment when you start to idolize house cats.

3. Get your story straight

If you’re going to mesh with the decline, you better have a narrative for your life that explains why things aren’t working out for you. If you have a difficult time explaining away why you’re a loser, consult a grad student in a post-modern psychology program. He’ll give you plenty of reasons why nothing is your fault. Or ask a homeless guy why he’s homeless. He’ll weave a Byzantine web of blind spots and fabrications that will serve as a good template for your own story.

4. Blame the system

In order to help you get your story straight, realize the system is against you. This is easy to do because “the system” can be anything. Blame your parents if you have to. And this commandment is easy to accept because politicians will make excuses for you all the time, and no, they’re totally not trying to validate your sad life so you vote for them. Blaming the system is even easier to do if you’re a racial minority. Because the system really is against racial minorities (wink, wink). Unless, you’re Asian, of course. Then you probably have too much pride—er, I mean hubris—to know what I’m talking about.

5. Happiness is what makes you feel good

Once you stop expecting, you learn to just be yourself, and you become a black belt in rationalizations, happiness will begin to seem unattainable. That’s okay, if you’re going to enjoy the downfall, happiness is no longer a process of consistent thought and action, born of integrity that’s based on a well-defined code. Happiness becomes that which makes you feel good. After awhile, it won’t actually feel good of course, but you’ve got rationalizations for that now. Whatever, that yearn for fulfillment you felt as a child is totally the same as the yearn for comfort you feel as an adult.

6. Get weird about sports

Watching sports is fun in moderation, but that’s not for you—as a person who has turned his yearn to breathe free in on itself, your suffocation needs a outlet. Enter sports. First, convince yourself wearing a jersey is totally not gay. Then, convince yourself that your desire to drink all day is manly. This will be easy, because there will be plenty of other guys who want to believe this right along with you. Feminists want to believe this too, because then it makes it much easier for them to dismantle masculinity.

7. Be oblivious about women

If society is going to function well, the men and women of that society have to function well together. So whatever you do, don’t try to deal with women well, because then you may start to deal with the rest of your life well. Just live out your mommy issues over and over again, all the while telling yourself how bad women are. Yeah, because women nag you because that’s just what women do, not because you secretly like to tolerate nagging. And don’t worry, creating a mutually beneficial relationship between you and a female isn’t a prerequisite for getting laid, so like whatever.


There’s a chicken-or-egg dilemma here. Maybe it was the rise of philosophies like Stoicism that caused the downfall of the Roman Empire, and not the other way around. Ryan Holliday disagrees. But he doesn’t know. Nobody knows for sure. All we know is that if the civilization you’re living in is declining, then there’s no use fighting it. It’s your job, rather, to adapt a philosophy to help you endure it with a smile on your face, even if the smile is one of desperation and anxiety. Is your philosophy actually causing the decline? Who cares? Just kick back with a few beers and tell a few jokes and wait for everybody to die. After all, if the decline is happening, it’s only because of everyone else.

CultureMark Derianrome