Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Seneca effect

OK, here's a cute little tidbit from our old pal Seneca, that wacky stoic philosopher from ancient Rome. Let's call it "the Seneca Effect." Basically, stuff falls apart a lot faster than it gets built. I.e.: Rome wasn't built in a day. But it took about a day to sack it. But let's quote the man himself ...

"It would be some consolation for the feebleness of our selves and our works if all things should perish as slowly as they come into being; but as it is, increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid."
Lucius Anneaus Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, n. 91

The money quote from the Oil Drum blog:

"... Could it be that the Seneca cliff is what we are facing, right now? If that is the case, then we are in trouble. With oil production peaking or set to peak soon, it is hard to think that we are going to see a gentle downward slope of the economy. Rather, we may see a decline so fast that we can only call it "collapse." The symptoms are all there, but how to prove that it is what is really in store for us? It is not enough to quote a Roman philosopher who lived two thousand years ago. We need to understand what factors might lead us to fall much faster than we have been growing so far. For that, we need to make a model and see how the various elements of the economic system may interact with each other to generate collapse..."

And now here's something we hope you'll really like ...

Cynical Seneca

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