Vonnegut's criticisms of modern society
In his age-old effort to predict the future, man has tried many methods, including a careful study of past history. Although the act of predicting social events is largely theoretical--since it is necessarily a tentative process--numerous historians, sociologists, theologians, scientists, and artists persist in discovering trends or seeing patterns in the movement of history. In developing their theories, many of these people discover cycles in historical events, which enable them to shape and to give definition not only to human experience but to the rise and fall of entire civilizations, as well. When studying what they believe to be the cycles of civilizations, scholars have observed that each cycle is a well-rounded unit of history characterized by stages of birth, growth, decline, and death. These cycles occur even in civilizations on opposite sides of the globe, like the Babylonian and the Mayan. Western Civilization may be no exception; many historians suspect that it also can be viewed as cyclical in its development and some further assert that it is presently in its final stage—dissolution.