Sometimes, a society or culture in decline knows that it is dying, and decides to make the most of the time that it has left. It doesn't have anything left; it doesn't care, it just parties on, hoping that the darkness will lift so that it may return to happier times. Materialism and conspicuous consumption are the order of the day. From ancient Rome to the Jet Set of the 1980s, this is called partying against the darkness.

We saw a lot of this sort of thing during the 1980s: we may be annihilated at any moment by a nuclear weapon launched by some person we neither know nor care about, thousands of miles away, so let's party, and pray we see the sun rise. I've always found the lyrics of the song Forever Young by Alphaville embody the above phrase beautifully.

the lights,

the sounds, the rhythm and the magic of the night

the sway of bodies,the sweat, the tears, the unrelenting fight

with what's inside us,

challenged by the might, the flow, the power of this moment

in the night,

we ride.

it's not about the substances, the solids, liquids, or the gases

it's about the feeling,

coiling deep within us like a serpent

smoke on the skyline.

we soar into the darkness in our chariot of lions

no longer fighting

with our demons 'cause we burn the lies behind us, take the world

in a cavalcade of fire and tonight,

we tear down the walls around us and tonight,

we are invincible.

we ride

in the subway,

casting light into the tunnels and the peace,

that sits between us makes small talk with the silence oh my friends,

let me tell you,

youth comes only once,

so sieze it by the throat

and choke out every liquid drop of quiet after a night

spent dancing away your troubles we are young,

and we are wild, and we will never sleep

and oh i'll meet

my demons at the crossroads when it's time but for now,

look me in the eyes and tell me you regret this.

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