One ought to remember that before Europeans brought the blessings of the industrial revolution and liberal modernity to others, they first inflicted them on themselves. Today, the Western world is on a self-immolating trajectory, propelled by a “progressive” will to uproot and rubbish the last residues of its rich cultural legacy, a legacy now blithely disparaged as the toxic bequest of “dead white men.”
This rage against dead white men is a fundamentally anticultural stance for culture everywhere and in all times articulates itself in terms of an overcoming of effeminate chaos and undifferentiation and the chopping up (parcelling) of the primordial maternal body (the Real) into symbolic fragments (signifiers). Culture is everywhere a phallic erection (and imposition) of a symbolic order over the chtonic power of formless matter.
What we see today is that this phallic insurrection that raises up civilization must always contend with the return of an enveloping maternal chaos. The phallic power oscillates between rampancy and flaccidity. All of its achievements and inventions face dissolution and must be reinvented and renewed. When the virility of a culture is finally exhausted, it collapses.
This collapse will always portend “emancipation” for some, specifically, for those whom Nietzsche labelled the last men. The last men lack the strength to sustain civilization. Therefore, they regard civilization itself as an injustice, as a prison from which they hope to escape. As it progresses into dissolution, a dying culture becomes a culture of hysterics and infantile narcissists. A massive, regressive, infantilization of the culture takes place: the undoing of civilization is necessarily also an undoing of the subjects that constitute it; it manifests in individuals as a loss of adult capability, as endemic immaturity. Like a ship turning turtle, everything formerly at the bottom (sick women, sick men, perverts, cowards) briefly achieves dominance. The undoing of civilization is also an overturning. But this overturning is merely a prelude to the whole mass sinking into oblivion.
Only subsequently can something new arise from the dark depths.