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.