Human minds can quickly come to accept things as normal and push them to the background of consciousness. For example, we do not usually wake up and think about the fact that we are riding a ball of rock through space by the grace of a large ball of fire which warms us. Nor do we think about our hearts beating, or an asteroid plummeting to smite us.
Civilization fits into the same frame of mind. To paraphrase the neurotics at Apple computer, as long as “it just works” we sort of forget about it, and because it is bigger and more complex than us, we assume it is just working until we see clear signs of its failure. Those usually come long after the problem can be fixed.
And yet, like all things crafted from a design whether intentional or accidental, civilizations start from an idea and work outward. This idea is what ideology intends to replace; the idea is functional, where ideology is compensatory, or designed to work around the idea so that the individual can be powerful despite potentially not living up to the standards set by the idea.
The idea of the West is that of the reflective being: alone, he needs no stimulus, but can reach deep into his intuition to see where it pairs up with the natural world around him, and by deriving similar patterns, understand the cosmos beyond the physical. This is a hybrid of intravert and extravert that creates the feral beast which can also conduct logical analysis.
Most civilizations are reactive, or stimulus-driven, in other words purely extraverted. The third world is this way. People go about routines and react to events. When there are no events, they go somewhat crazy, so pointless drama is more valuable than silence. Even their analytical thoughts are like reactions, and their music, syncopated and color note heavy, reacting to the imposition of structure.
This explains the frenetic nature of the third world. There must always be entertainment. If there is not, the dark acid of existential questioning eats away the framework of the illusion and a void is revealed into which gravity pushes people without mercy. When that happens, those who have power are in danger, so it never happens.
Reactive civilizations are simpler and easier to set up than reflective ones. One needs only a group and a schedule of events, such as that there is always something happening — “what’s going on?” — to suspend the existential terror that is the actual default state of humanity. When the people are occupied, they are oblivious to direction.
This shows us the power and pitfall of reactivity as a psychology. It is easy to maintain and avoids the difficult questions in life like meaning and death, but it also makes the people who are caught in it oblivious to anything outside of themselves, to the point where when things do not turn out as they expected, they tend to be angry at life itself.
Most people even within reflective civilizations choose a reactive outlook. It is existentially more convenient because it does not confront disturbing questions, or require the individual to make hard choices. However, it leads to the type of solipsistic outlook that if predominant enough converts the society as a whole into a reactive one, at which point it slides into third world disorder.
If one thing could be identified as being responsible for the rise of the West, it is our salient attribute as reflective people: we look both within and without, searching our intuition and developing our knowledge of reality in parallel, to know what is true. This is a rare trait and it alone explains the results our civilization has achieved.