It's become clear in the past couple of days of riots in London that we live underneath such a thin veil of civilisation that sometimes the slightest breeze can waft it away. It's not disillusionment that leads to such behaviour, it's aggressive ill-will and disregard for your fellow human beings.
But I can excuse the inhumanity because that's an inherently human trait. It's not as if we were never thus, that we're blazing a trail for the cruelty of man to man. It would be epic arrogance for us to imagine otherwise, another trait that we would share in common with our forebears of yore.
No, what gets me is the hypocrisy of it all, the hysteria - the 'oh, society is going to hell', or 'the world is falling apart', as if we ever reached a peak. Society never climbed to a summit of civilisation, we never got better or worse, we just got centrally heated.
I'm sure every group of people that has ever lived has assumed it was better than every group of people that ever lived. I don't hold truck with all this existential torture theorising that says people are driven into such evil destructiveness through a lack of opportunity or money being ploughed into their better nature.
I think some people just aren't very nice and they want to show it. Perhaps the thing that society can learn is that there are no peaks and troughs, and through those non-peaks and non-troughs there is a spine of morality that says you can't set people's houses on fire, torch their cars or raze their livelihood to the ground. You just can't.