I'm not sure where I found this (I'll try to find and provide a reference), but I thought it was very interesting.
The progression of civilizations:
-bondage to spiritual faith
-spiritual faith to great courage
-courage to liberty
-liberty to abundance
-abundance to complacency
-complacency to apathy
-apathy to dependence
-dependence to bondage
If I remember correctly, the folks who came up with this claimed that most (if not all) major civilizations in world history went through all steps in the progression, althoughhough the time spent in each "stage" varied.
Here's the big question:
Where are we now and how long do we have until we reach the next stage?