## Civilisations are cyclical ### Civilisations are cyclical [[Thomas Cole]]'s Course of Empire series of five paintings consists of a composite showing the story of a culture in five parts. From the origin to chaos. [![Media Name: 640px-cole_thomas_the_course_of_empire_destruction_1836.jpg](https://cdn.substack.com/image/fetch/w_1456,c_limit,f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F08385bfa-7838-414c-acdd-458d0bce199e_640x397.jpeg "Media Name: 640px-cole_thomas_the_course_of_empire_destruction_1836.jpg")](https://cdn.substack.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F08385bfa-7838-414c-acdd-458d0bce199e_640x397.jpeg) This painting composite made me ponder upon the cyclical nature of any civilisation. Is everything in this world cyclical in nature? Well, Fashion could be cyclical. The trends rise and fall, earlier trends again emerge as retro, which then again becomes the new hip and hot. What about mathematics? Is it cyclical? Surprisingly, mathematics has always seen a constant progress throughout the rise and decay of various civilisations. You start from 1+1 and build algebra and calculus and before you know it, you have landed on the moon with this logic. Be it the Babylonian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek or even the Indus Valley civilisations. Mathematics has shown an upward trend of progression. Almost like smaller LEGO blocks combining together to make a giant behemoth of a structure. Mathematics remains the language of the universe, impervious to the creation and destruction of civilisations. As I pondered upon the beautiful composites of Thomas Cole, these thoughts emerged. It's indeed fascinating how such a painting could trigger such thoughts almost akin to a visual tingling of your neurons. After all, 70 percent of your brain are mere visual neurons. And art could bring forth such thoughts and emotions. After all, as [[Marshall McLuhann]] puts it, **Medium is the message.** [mental model](mental%20model)