My brothers and sister and I were brought up in an atmosphere which I would describe as 'Puritan decadence'. Puritanism names the behaviour which is condemned; Puritan decadence regards the name itself as indecent, and pretends that the object behind that name does not exist until it is named.
I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Jerusalem was capital of southern Israel, known then as Judah. Isn't it true that there's always a rivalry between north and south? North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam, Northern and Southern Ireland, Yankees and Rebels, uptown and downtown. Somebody please tell me why that is? Maybe southerners get too much sun, like Mr. Sock over there, frying his threads, and northerners don't get enough (although I hardly think northern Israel a cool spot in the shade), but southern peoples-tropical and downtown types-always seem to lean toward decadence, whereas uptown, in the north, progress is favored. Decadence and progress obviously are at odds.
Society has three stages: Savagery, Ascendance, Decadence. The great rise because of Savagery. They rule in Ascendance. They fall because of their own Decadence." He tells how the Persians were felled, how the Romans collapsed because their rulers forgot how their parents gained them an empire. He prattles about Muslim dynasties and European effeminacy and Chinese regionalism and American self-loathing and self-neutering. All the ancient names. "Our Savagery began when our capital, Luna, rebelled against the tyranny of Earth and freed herself from the shackles of Demokracy, from the Noble Lie - the idea that men are brothers and are created equal." Augustus weaves lies of his own with that golden tongue of his. He tells of the Goldens' suffering. The Masses sat on the wagon and expected the great to pull, he reminds. They sat whipping the great until we could no longer take it. I remember a different whipping. "Men are not created equal; we all know this. There are averages. There are outliers. There are the ugly. There are the beautiful. This would not be if we were all equal. A Red can no more command a starship than a Green can serve as a doctor!" There's more laughter across the square as he tells us to look at pathetic Athens, the birthplace of the cancer they call Demokracy. Look how it fell to Sparta. The Noble Lie made Athens weak. It made their citizens turn on their best general, Alcibiades, because of jealousy. "Even the nations of Earth grew jealous of one another. The United States of America exacted this idea of equality through force. And when the nations united, the Americans were surprised to find that they were disliked! The Masses are jealous! How wonderful a dream it would be if all men were created equal! But we are not. It is against the Noble Lie that we fight. But as I said before, as I say to you now, there is another evil against which we war. It is a more pernicious evil. It is a subversive, slow evil. It is not a wildfire. It is a cancer. And that cancer is Decadence. Our society has passed from Savagery to Ascendance. But like our spiritual ancestors, the Romans, we too can fall into Decadence.
Fundamentalists believe that we don't believe in anything. In their view of the world, they are in possession of absolute certainties, while we are descending into decadence. We will be able to triumph over terrorism not by waging war on it, but through a conscious, fearless way of life.
I have no profession. It is another example of my decadence. My attitude - quite an indefensible one - is that so long as I am no trouble to any one I have a right to do as I like. I know I ought to be getting money out of people, or devoting myself to things I don't care a straw about, but somehow, I've not been able to begin.' 'You are quite fortunate, it is quite a wonderful opportunity, the possession of leisure.
It may well be a sign of the decadence of the Church and the failure of Christianity that gifts have to be coaxed out of people, and that often they will not give at all unless they get something for their money in the way of entertainment or of goods. Giving which is real giving has a certain recklessness in it.
I wanted to be an actor from a young age, but actually becoming one and seen the ugly side of the world does feel different and sometimes unwelcome. There are shallow, vapid, untalented people zombieing the streets of Hollywood, adding decadence and immorality to an already extravagant business.
Our institutions, if they do not erode entirely, can survive periods of decadence brought on by our material success, eras when the whole notion of civic militarism seems bothersome, and in which free speech is used to focus on our own imperfections without concern for the ghastly nature of our enemies.
Victor Davis Hanson
I'm a starving child trying to stuff my stomach, gorging my senses on the decadence of these moments as if I'll wake up in the morning and realize I'm still sweeping cinders for my stepmother.But then Adam's lips press against my head and my worries put on a fancy dress and pretend to be something else for a while.
Waiting for Godot was not allowed. Neither was Henry Miller. The Soviets condemned them both. Miller would have been used as an example of decadence, being a very good analyst of how terrible and monstrous American culture was. That they liked, but they wouldn't publish him. I guess it must have been the sex. With Beckett, it must have been the hopelessness.
A great Tamil poet, given to decadence and debauchery, once said that the story of his life could serve as an example to the youth on how one should not live. Having lived, or rather, having sleepwalked for ten years through the desolate wastelands of depression, I survived to reach the other side. I believe that this validates my claim to write this book for you.
Much of the misgiving that Muslims feel for the West stems from our strong emphasis on freedom, always a risky enterprise. I've heard some say they would rather rear their children in a closely guarded Islamic society than in the United States, where freedom so often leads to decadence.
There was no manifestation of contemporary culture that did not indicate to my grandmother how steadfast was the nation's decline, how merciless our mental and moral deterioration, how swiftly all-embracing our final decadence. I never saw her read a book again; but she referred to books often - as if they were shrines and cathedrals of learning that television had plundered and then abandoned.
Fascism was an explosion against intolerable conditions, against remediable wrongs which the old world failed to remedy. It was a movement to secure national renaissance by people who felt themselves threatened with decline into decadence and death and were determined to live, and live greatly.
I am... power.. I am... joy...peace... I am.. weakness I am... undeniable.. boundless.. I am force.. truth.. submission... decadence.. I am... malleable... distraction.. I am absolution.. mystery... I am... temptation...rejuvenation... exaltation.. I... loyalty... am... reckless... imperfect... I... love... human... am.. destruction... rebirth... life... I am flawed.
There's a kind of decadence about all this: If 9/11 was really an inside job, you wouldn't be driving around with a bumper sticker bragging that you were on to it. Fantasy is a by-product of security: it's the difference between hanging upside down in your dominatrix's bondage parlor after work on Friday and enduring the real thing for years on end in Saddam's prisons....
When a republic's most venerable institutions no longer operate as they were intended, it becomes possible for small cabals to usurp power, and, while keeping the forms, corrupt the function of those institutions for their own ends. Looking at things that way, the George W. Bush presidency has been both result and symptom of the decadence of America's constitutional mechanisms.
T. D. Allman
In 2010, Republicans took control of politics in Alabama by advocating for increased transparency and an end to government corruption, but instead of ending it, they have raised the level of corruption to the point that the stench of dishonesty fills the air, decadence drives policy, and bribery is the norm in Montgomery.
Memory is capricious. I can look back and see decadence, old bigots, the constant racial slurs, the bores, the wild cards, the bighearted, the family album of alcoholics, the saints, the old aunt propped in a chair saying only "da-da, " the slow-motion suicides, but at four, six, ten, they loomed, powerful, not as types but as themselves. Among them, logic takes wing." (pg. 31)
I am seized with an abiding fear regarding what these two instruments are doing to our society, our culture and our heritage. Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes for one week of all three networks, they will there find recorded in black and white, or color, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live,
Edward R. Murrow
Sundance [festival] is all your Hollywood buds and buddies and rolling out and high-fiving and "Hell, yeah. Here comes the movie," and in Venice, it's very elegant, and respectful...It's decadence. It's such a fun way to formalize a movie that is for us a down-and-dirty, gritty movie. And to see it with the red carpet, and rolling up in a Maserati.
David Gordon Green
Our culture has few taboos that can't be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place. Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing. This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that "bravely" trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.
I came to the state twenty years ago from the South, the gothic South. I've heard it called that, haven't you, Mister Morgan? 'Thought I was gettin' away from all that. You know, the Tennessee Williams' decadence, the Huey Long corruption, the brewin' and simmerin' violence. I actually found that I kind of missed it. Then, I found out it was all here, too, but without the charm.
When you showed someone how you felt, it was fresh and honest. When you told someone how you felt, there might be nothing behind the words but habit or expectation. Those three words were what everyone used; simple syllables couldn't contain something as rare as what I felt for Sean. I wanted him to feel what I felt when I was with him: that incredible combination of comfort, decadence, and wonder; the knowledge that, with just a single taste of him, I was addicted.
I certainly do not lament the decadence of knight errantry, nor wish to exchange the protection of the laws for that of the doughtiest champion who ever set lance in rest; but I do, in truth, believe that this knightly sensitiveness of honorable feeling is the best antidote to the petty soul-degrading transactions of every-day life, and that the total want of it is one reason why this free-born race care so very little for the vulgar virtue called probity.
We must admit that today conformity is on the Left. To be sure, the Right is not brilliant. But the Left is in complete decadence, a prisoner of words, caught in its own vocabulary, capable merely of stereotyped replies, constantly at a loss when faced with truth, from which it nevertheless claimed to derive its laws. The Left is schizophrenic and needs doctoring through pitiless self-criticism, exercise of the heart, close reasoning, and a little modesty.
In a 'wheat and tares' world, how unusually blessed faithful members are to have the precious and constant gift of the Holy Ghost with reminders of what is right and of the covenants we have made. 'For behold, ... the Holy Ghost ... will show unto you all things what ye should do.' (2 Ne. 32:5.) Whatever the decibels of decadence, these need not overwhelm the still, small voice! Some of the best sermons we will ever hear will be thus prompted from the pulpit of memory""to an audience of one!
Neal A. Maxwell
It is rather the nature of America - our freewheeling, outspoken, prosperous, liberty-loving citizens extend equality to women, homosexuals, minorities, and almost anyone who comes to our shores, and thereby create desire and with it shame for that desire. Indeed, it is worse still than that: Precisely because we worry publicly that we are insensitive, our enemies scoff privately that we in fact are too sensitive - what we think is liberality and magnanimity they see as license and decadence. If we don't have confidence in who we are, why should they?
Victor Davis Hanson
There is an old song which asserts 'the best things in life are free.' Not true! Utterly false! This was the tragic fallacy which brought on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the twentieth century; those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted...and get it without toil, without sweat, without tears. Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.
Robert A. Heinlein
We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it, to his home, to his centers of entertainment: a total war. It is necessary to prevent him from having a moment of peace, a quiet moment outside his barracks or even inside; we must attack him wherever he may be, make him feel like a cornered beast wherever he may move. Then his moral fiber shall begin to decline, but we shall notice how the signs of decadence begin to disappear.
Against all the odds, we built a better navy than theirs-from scratch-in two months! We now rule the waves in the Mediterranean Sea-Our Sea! The day will come-it begins today-when Rome will master the world! Alexander will roll in his grave, Atlantis will decay in her decadence, and these demons of Harappa will entertain Hades with their theatrics this very night. But Rome will live on in fame and glory. It starts with our victory today!
All writing, all art, is an act of faith. If one tries to contribute to human understanding, how can that be called decadent? It's like saying a declaration of love is an act of decadence. Any work of art, provide it springs from a sincere motivation to further understanding between people, is an act of faith and therefore is an act of love.
I love this word decadence, all shimmering in purple and gold. It suggests the subtle thoughts of ultimate civilization, a high literary culture, a soul capable of intense pleasures. It throws off bursts of fire and the sparkle of precious stones. It is redolent of the rouge of courtesans, the games of the circus, the panting of the gladiators, the spring of wild beasts, the consuming in flames of races exhausted by their capacity for sensation, as the tramp of an invading army sounds.
[Nietzsche inveighs] against every sort of historical optimism; but he energetically repudiates the ordinary pessimism, which is the result of degenerate or enfeebled instincts of decadence. He preaches with youthful enthusiasm the triumph of a tragic culture, introduced by an intrepid rising generation, in which the spirit of ancient Greece might be born again. He rejects the pessimism of Schopenhauer, for he already abhors all renunciation; but he seeks a pessimism of healthiness, one derived from strength, from exuberant power, and he believes he has found it in the Greeks.
Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.
Misgovernment is of four kinds, often in combination. They are: 1) tyranny or oppression, of which history provides so many well-known examples that they do not need citing; 2) excessive ambition, such as Athens' attempted conquest of Sicily in the Peloponnesian War, Philip II's of England via the Armada, Germany's twice-attempted rule of Europe by a self-conceived master race, Japan's bid for an empire of Asia; 3) incompetence or decadence, as in the case of the late Roman empire, the last Romanovs and the last imperial dynasty of China; and finally 4) folly or perversity.
Like symbolism, decadence puts forth the idea that the function of literature is to evoke impressions and 'correspondences', rather than to realistically depict the world... the decadent aestheticized decay and took pleasure in perversity. In decadent literature, sickness is preferable to health, not only because sickness was regarded as more interesting, but because sickness was construed as subversive, as a threat to the very fabric of society. By embracing the marginal, the unhealthy and the deviant, the decadents attacked bourgeois life, which they perceived as the chief enemy of art.