44. Once senility has come upon a dynasty, it cannot
be made to disappear.
We have already cited the symptoms and causes of senility, one by one.696 We have explained that it is natural for the causes of senility to affect the dynasty. All of them are natural in (a dynasty). If, then, senility is something natural in (the life of) the dynasty, it must come about in the same way natural things come about, exactly as senility affects the temper of living beings. Senility is a chronic disease that cannot be cured or made to disappear because it is something natural, and natural things do not change.
Many a politically conscious person among the people of the dynasty becomes alert to it and notices the symptoms and causes of senility that have affected his dynasty. He considers it possible to make that senility disappear. Therefore, he takes it upon himself to repair the dynasty and relieve its temper of senility. He supposes that (senility) resulted from shortcomings or negligence on the part of former people of the dynasty. This is not so. These things are natural to the dynasty. Customs (that have developed in the dynasty) prevent him from repairing it. Customs are like a second nature. A person who, for instance, has seen his father and the older members of his family wear silk and brocade and use gold ornaments for weapons and mounts and be inaccessible to the people in their salons and at prayer, will not be able to diverge from the customs of his forebears in this respect. He will not be able to use coarse dress and apparel and mingle with the people. Custom would prevent him (from doing that) and expose him if he were to do it. Were he to do it, he would be accused of craziness and insanity for his brusque disregard of custom. There is the danger that it would have bad consequences for his government.
One might contrast (this with) the disregard for custom and opposition to it shown by the prophets. However, the prophets had divine support and celestial help.
Group feeling has often disappeared (at the time the dynasty grows senile), and pomp has taken the place it occupied in the souls of men. Now, when in addition to the weakening of group feeling, pomp, too, is discontinued, the subjects grow audacious vis-a-vis the dynasty, because the presumption of pomp remains.697 Therefore, the dynasty shields itself by holding on to pomp as much as possible, until everything is finished.
At the end of a dynasty, there often also appears some (show of) power that gives the impression that the senility of the dynasty has been made to disappear. It lights up brilliantly just before it is extinguished, like a burning wick the flame of which leaps up brilliantly a moment before it goes out, giving the impression it is just starting to burn, when in fact it is going out.
This should be considered, and one should not disregard the wise planning that God employs in having His creation follow its course toward the destiny He has determined for it. "Each term has a book." 698