"cultural disintegration and tribal degradation"

Wilfred Thesiger in Arabian Sands comments elegiacally on meeting an emaciated old Arab:

Yet I wondered fancifully if he had seen more clearly than they did, had sensed the threat which my presence implied – the approaching disintegration of his society and the destruction of his beliefs. Here especially it seemed that the evil that comes with sudden change would far outweigh the good. While I was with the Arabs I wished only to live as they lived and, now that I have left them, I would gladly think that nothing in their life was altered by my coming. Regretfully, however, I realise that the maps I made helped others with more material aims, to visit and corrupt a people whose spirit once lit the desert like a flame.