Ibn Khaldun, Cricket and the Great Wheel that keeps on turning

Australia’s Ashes hopes died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure. The television at home showed it all. Anyhow, these things go in cycles, and I suppose Ricky Ponting can take heart from the Islamic philosopher Ibn Khaldun. Here’s the wikipedia description of the theory he is best known for

Perhaps the most frequently cited observation drawn from Ibn Khaldūn’s work is the notion that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, however, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices. Then, eventually, the former barbarians will be conquered by a new set of barbarians, who will repeat the process. Some contemporary readers of Khaldun have read this as an early business cycle theory, though set in the historical circumstances of the mature Islamic empire.


So, the barbarians have stormed the gates and put the Baggygreens to the sword. But the barbarians will get fat and old and complacent and lazy, and the sons (but not daughters) of today’s defeated Baggygreens shall rise from/to the Ashes etc. And after they win, they shall become fat and old and complacent…. And so the Great Wheel shall keep on turning, until Peak Oil and Climate Catastrophes render the whole shebang impossible and irrelevant. Shouldn’t be more than two or three decades, I reckon.

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About dwighttowers

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3 Responses to Ibn Khaldun, Cricket and the Great Wheel that keeps on turning

  1. Sarah Irving says:

    Harrumph, no credit for the brilliant wifey who told you about Ibn Khaldun and his theories in the first place.
    On a separate note, Khaldun was, interestingly, of Andalucian origin – his family fled the conquest of Seville for Tunis. I’m guessing this could have inspired some of his thinking (which makes the Christian Spanish the barbarians, I suppose? Right enough). For more on the ultimate fate of Spain’s Muslim community, see here: http://www.sarahirving.co.uk/?p=68

    • dwighttowers says:

      I almost didn’t approve that comment, brilliant wifey!! But I don’t want to move from one category to another in that (now officially overdue) blog posting of yours about the taxonomy of men who mate (fnar fnar) with Strong Wimmin.

  2. Pingback: Cooking instructions, Moses nears The End: Numbers 23 to 30 | The King James Subversion

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