THE DISINTEGRATIONS OF CIVILIZATIONS
IN passing from the breakdowns of civilizations to their disintegrations we have to face a question like that which confronted us when we passed from the geneses of civilizations to their growths. Is disintegration a new problem on its own account or can we take it for granted as a natural and inevitable sequel to breakdown? When we considered the earlier question, whether growth was a new problem, distinct from the problem of genesis, we were led to answer the question in the affirmative by discovering that there were, in fact, a number of 'arrested' civilizations which had solved the problem of genesis but had failed to solve the problem of growth. And now again, at this later stage in our Study, we can meet the analogous question with the same affirmative answer by pointing to the fact that certain civilizations, after breakdown, have suffered a similar arrest and entered on a long period of petrifaction.
The classic example of a petrified civilization is presented by a phase in the history of the Egyptiac Society which we have already had occasion to consider. After the Egyptiac Society had broken down under the intolerable burden that was imposed on it by the Pyramid-builders, and when thereafter it had passed through the first and the second into the third of the three phases of disintegration—a 'time of troubles', a universal state and an interregnum—this apparently moribund society then departed unexpectedly and abruptly, at a moment when it was apparently completing its life course, from what we may provisionally regard as the standard pattern if we take for our norm the Hellenic example in which these three phases first came under our notice. At this point the Egyptiac Society refused to pass away and proceeded to double its life-span. When we take the time-measure of the Egyptiac Society from the moment of its galvanic reaction against the Hyksos invaders in the first quarter of the sixteenth century before Christ down to the obliteration of the last traces of an Egyptiac culture in the fifth century of the Christian Era, we find that this span of two thousand years is as long as the combined span of the birth, growth, breakdown and almost complete