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The second fall

At the turn of the second millennium, humanity seemed set on a steady upward course. How did it all go wrong in just 200 years? This is a memo on the fall of homo sapiens, 2000-2200 CE, written for the crew of the third interstellar colonising mission, 2759 CE, as a record and a warning

By Anatol Lieven   January 2001

Now his wars on God begin; At stroke of midnight God shall win.

WB Yeats, “The Four Ages of Man”

The bigger they come, the harder they fall, said a poet long ago; and liberal capitalism climbed so high and fell so hard that it split humanity in two. Civilisation on Earth is a wreck; civilisation on the planets shows signs of losing its humanity altogether. Perhaps what is still most human about the immortals on the satellites and space stations (apart from our cultivation of the traditional aristocratic vices) is our endless lament about what might have been, if…

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