When the Goths sacked Rome, St. Augustine wrote the “City of God”, putting a spiritual hope in place of the material reality that had been destroyed. Throughout the centuries that followed St. Augustine’s hope lived and gave life, while Rome sank to a village of hovels. For us too it is necessary to create a new hope, to build up by our thought a better world than the one which is hurling itself into ruin. Because the times are bad, more is required of us than would be required in normal times. Only a supreme fire of thought and spirit can save future generations from the death that has befallen the generation which we knew and loved.
— Bertrand Russell, Principles of Social Reconstruction (1916)
What to do while Rome burns