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Old 04-20-2010, 07:16 PM
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Default What Is Civilization???

This is a question I have been pondering for a couple of days. We like to think that we are civilized as opposed to savage or barbaric. We read history books, etc and they discuss the achievements of great civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Indian, Aztec, Mayan, etc, etc. Some of us are lucky enough to see the remains of these once great and powerful civilizations. They accomplished many things such as advanced science, mathematics, art, music, literature, law, etc. They made great temples, palaces, statues, etc. But when we look at certain aspects of each of these cultures, we wonder, were they truly civilized? The Romans thought it was entertaining to see many people and animals getting killed in an arena. The Aztecs honored their gods or even the ascension of a new king to the throne with thousands of ripped hearts taken from people. The Great Wall of China was made on the corpses of many people who didn't survive in building it.

Ancient Civilizations seem barbaric to us, or at least to some of us. They were brutal to their enemies. Yet, they considered themselves refined and civilized. It was the barbarians and primitives who were savage. Hence you have Julius Caesar writing about the Celts as being barbaric because they sacrificed their victims in unique ways. When the Western Roman Empire fell and was broken up into smaller kingdoms, the fighting continued and it would seem that the world was plunged into savagery. Yet, the seeds of what would become Europe were already planted and growing during that time. The European Middle Ages brought with it many accomplishments in art, engineering, agriculture, etc. Yet, they, like other civilizations before them were also what we would consider...savage. They thought of "ingenious" ways to execute people (hanging/drawing/quartering, breaking on the wheel, the Iron Maiden, etc).

Then came the advent of "modern" civilization with even more deadly weapons but were they any more refined? Sure, there were many more accomplishments in navigation, scientific discovery, technology, art, music, and literature but at the same time they trafficked in human flesh, massacred many people who were different from them and set a course of conquest. They, like the great civilizations before them, thought themselves to be the most refined and civilized of people. Were they? Did they not place a veneer on the savagery taking place?

"Modern" civilization "progressed" further into increasing technology: the steam engine, industrialization, more lethal weapons, more conquests. Still, they believed themselves so refined and civilized..much better than those "savages" who lived in small tribes who either were small farmers or they led a nomadic existence.

Then came the most advanced progression of civilization. The accomplishments in technology would astound nearly all their ancestors: the automobile, the airplane, the spaceship, telecommunications, the internet, etc, etc, etc. Sure, slavery had ended....for the most part. Civil rights were extended and they took on an air of being the most civilized, the most refined, the most humane of people. Yet, this same era of civilization created the worst weapon known to man..the atomic/nuclear bomb. Millions and millions of people were maimed and murdered in the name of ideology of the Master race and the supreme authority of the State. Many others languished in wage slavery to money, profit, etc. The barbarity continues. Millions more potential people are killed in the name of convenience and choice.

The question one must ask is what is truly civilization? what is truly savagery? Is a "primitive" society necessarily "savage"? Is a "civilization" necessarily "humane" and "refined"? Is it more complex and therefore better than so-called primitive societies?

What are we? Are we truly any better than our ancestors? Do we not, like they did, put a veneer on the savage? Are we so proud that we think that such barbarities of the past are beneath us? Civilizations come and go. Nothing lasts forever. Each one of these great civilizations had already sown the seeds of their own destruction decades before it happened. When one looks at Western Civilization, one can't come to any other conclusion but to say that we are also headed to the same path as the rest. Our accomplishments are "great" but I don't believe they will last. So, I ask the question again, what is civilization? Is it necessary? Does it mean that it must be centralized and specialized or is it possible to speak of civilization in looser terms, perhaps acknowledging that what some would consider to be "primitive" societies have more civilized structures than some would believe possible.

Are we honestly any different from "savages"?


What do you think?
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2010, 06:35 PM
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I actually think that civilized is the most used-improperly term in History. The civilized culture of nowadays, as pictured by ourselves, is the Occidental one. For a dude living in Saudi Arabia we're depicted as the dirty imperialists that just want to drop bombs and massacre their families. And our thoughts on them are no good either.

Politics make a dense fog around truth to make the bad things of your government disappear and just let the good shine to you. This is what I hate from it: the important thing is to reach power by any means, and the rest is just cheap demagogy to make your enemies seem the reincarnation of the Devil. Example: the US news show this instead of this. Yes, we're the good ones. Always.

Back to our point, the difference between a civilized and a savage culture is the treatment their people receive. Only that. The better and more equal treatment they receive, the more liberty they're given, the fairer justice is imposed for both human beings in and our the territory; the more civilized a culture would be.

And just a detail, I believe a civilized society would be ruled by this. Even if it's not Christian.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ZenitYerkes View Post
I actually think that civilized is the most used-improperly term in History. The civilized culture of nowadays, as pictured by ourselves, is the Occidental one. For a dude living in Saudi Arabia we're depicted as the dirty imperialists that just want to drop bombs and massacre their families. And our thoughts on them are no good either.

Politics make a dense fog around truth to make the bad things of your government disappear and just let the good shine to you. This is what I hate from it: the important thing is to reach power by any means, and the rest is just cheap demagogy to make your enemies seem the reincarnation of the Devil. Example: the US news show this instead of this. Yes, we're the good ones. Always.

Back to our point, the difference between a civilized and a savage culture is the treatment their people receive. Only that. The better and more equal treatment they receive, the more liberty they're given, the fairer justice is imposed for both human beings in and our the territory; the more civilized a culture would be.

And just a detail, I believe a civilized society would be ruled by this. Even if it's not Christian.
.

Actually this should be the guide to any civilized society:

YouTube - The Philosophy of Liberty
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  #4  
Old 04-26-2010, 02:28 AM
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I've posted this in some other thread some time ago , we are still savages , still monkeys wearing their modern suits and acting all "human" ,but if you force us into a corcer , we most likely show our real faces .

We actually never changed , we are just to arrogant to admit it to ourselves .
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkeua vrrtep View Post
I've posted this in some other thread some time ago , we are still savages , still monkeys wearing their modern suits and acting all "human" ,but if you force us into a corcer , we most likely show our real faces .

We actually never changed , we are just to arrogant to admit it to ourselves .
I like this: just think. If we were put into any civilisation or culture at a young age we would eventually become no different than our adopted people and way of life.
Hence I think the difference between a "savage" and a "civillised one" is all about context and the perceptions from others..
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pa'li Makto View Post
I like this: just think. If we were put into any civilisation or culture at a young age we would eventually become no different than our adopted people and way of life.
Hence I think the difference between a "savage" and a "civillised one" is all about context and the perceptions from others...
The problem is that in todays world , you are the sum of what the so called "modern society" makes you become , and aswell which what kind of people you are friends with and what kinds of parents you have .

If you live together with shallow narrow-minded people , you most likely end up like them , why should you care about other if they have teached you to only care about your own and value materialistic stuff ?

I think of this as the new global disease that has spread amongst us , but this time it isn't a disease which affects the body but the mind , and it "kills" everyday .

Only a few people are able to think outside of the box , which is quite sad.

PS: Sorry for falsely "editing" your post Pali , I sometimes forget I'm a moderator and click on the edit button instead on the quote button .. <.< , I fixed it again .
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Last edited by fkeua vrrtep; 04-26-2010 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:04 AM
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Civilization is an expanded cultivation of natural human tendencies. In a broad opinion. You cannot lable us arrogant, to do the opposite would be a crusade against ourselves.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:50 AM
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Civilization is an expanded cultivation of natural human tendencies. In a broad opinion. You cannot lable us arrogant, to do the opposite would be a crusade against ourselves.
Imo it isn't quite a crusade , it's more of a fact if you look at the way we behave , we aren't by far the super species as we think of ourselves the way we do , actually you just prove it with "You can NOT lable us arrogant".

Everything that denies criticism is sooner or later going to fail .
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkeua vrrtep View Post
Imo it isn't quite a crusade , it's more of a fact if you look at the way we behave , we aren't by far the super species as we think of ourselves the way we do , actually you just prove it with "You can NOT lable us arrogant".

Everything that denies criticism is sooner or later going to fail .
In a professional sense I have to say that it isn't our fault, it is evolution and the fact that it has caused us to evolve this way. I also believe that it is human behaviour that is the main problem not nature. Therefore change is possible, it would just be a struggle. So in a sense civilization is an expansion of human tendencies, it is that addition of behaviour that makes us so abhorent and destructive.
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