Monday, December 07, 2009

1914 and all that.

Unlike most people, I don't think the Sixties were a big deal. In my mind the great change in the West occurred with the First World War. In the intellectual sphere everything changed then. Central Europe died, Russia(Communism) was born, Tradition in the arts was put aside and modernity embraced. The rot of Western Civilisation set in.

Now whilst I agree that the Sixties were a period of great change, I always had the impression that it was more a time when the veil came off rather than anything new was dreamed up. People's habits did not change as a result of the Sixties, the habits had changed long before; rather a veneer of respectability covered everything and until the Sixties people still paid lip service to traditional ideals.

The profound changes in the Catholic Church were more probably a reflection on the fact that the faith was in reality for most a socially conditioned habit rather than the result of an active faith, and so when it became socially acceptable to leave, people did. Likewise the great sexual liberation of the Sixties was not so much a liberation as an acknowledgment of what was really going on behind the veneer of domestic respectability.

With that in mind this paper should make for interesting reading. This article is also of some worth.


Ferdinand Bardamu said...

Now whilst I agree that the Sixties were a period of great change, I always had the impression that it was more a time when the veil came off rather than anything new was dreamed up.

That's a great line, and something I always wondered about myself. I'm increasingly coming around to the view that the sixties was the equivalent of the last crack breaking the dam open. All the other cracks were already in place.

And Slumlord, I'd appreciate it if you would update your blogroll with my new link:

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I totally agree. Not much seemed to happen in the sixties as far as new discoveries or methods went.

The Social Pathologist said...


Thanks for dropping by. An interesting movie that I recently watched was "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp". It was a film made in England during the war years. Reading between the lines (especially the dialogue between the younger people) you certainly get the impression that more went on than was publicly acknowledged.

In one of the scenes in Kubrick's Lolita (1962), a couple raises the issue of swinging. This was before the official sexual revolution happened.

The more I've read about the matter that more I feel the great dividing line in Western Civilisation was 1914-1918. The link with the past gets broken then.

P.S. I've fixed up the link.


The 60's were the time when the temple finally crumbled. The foundations had been undermined a long time ago.

Neo-Victorianist said...

I still think the "Sixties" were a big deal, but yes the modern moral rot started in 1914. There was a strong decline in morals after 1945 and an even worse one after 1965.

But yes the foundations of morality were undermined a long time before 1960.

The Social Pathologist said...

Thanks for visiting Neo-Victorianist. I quite like your blog.

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

World War One certainly had some profound effects in Europe that most Americans do not appreciate. For one thing, in the participating countries something between one tenth and one third of the male population born between 1890 and 1900 were killed. I am not sure how that compares to the change in the sex ratio in ghettos due to prison and early death but I think that it may be in the ball park for the "Lost Generation" age cohort.

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