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What constitutes an advanced civilization?

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posted on May, 5 2009 @ 07:49 AM
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This is a question that has intrigued me for some time. Where the Ancient civilizations more advanced than our civilization? Now I am not talking about this from a technological point of view, but even that can be debatable as well determining your point of view on what constitutes a technological advanced society. What I am talking about is an advanced knowledge of how to pass on knowledge to future cultures just to point out one thing in particular.

First I examine just leaving the legacy of history alone.

We think of ourselves advanced because we can read and write at least one language, some people can even do this with multiple languages.

Why does this make us an advanced civilization? Well it is because we can write down our history for future generations to read about.

Wait, didn’t ancient civilizations do this as well, from paintings depicting their lives, to carvings I stone depicting the same.

So which one would be easier to decipher, history written in many different languages that future generations might not even know and would need some kind of sipher to figure out, and even at that they might not get the translation exactly right, or would it be easier to decipher pictures of the culture that displayed images of their daily life, rulers, etc. Yes some of the pictures might be misinterpreted as well, but just in the time it would take to decipher, which one shows more promise. Also consider this, paintings on stone last much longer than text written on paper, and stone carvings last have the possibility of lasting far, far longer.

So which civilization is more advanced in recording its own history, ours or the ancient’s?

I welcome all answers, I am not a historian, but this thought has plagued me in reading on how ancient civilizations were not advanced, and I personally believe to the contrary as stated in the example above.

 


Sp edit - requested by author


[edit on 1/9/09 by masqua]




posted on May, 5 2009 @ 08:22 AM
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The answer is simple:
Draw me a picture of this:
a^2+b^2=c^2

When you have done that, i'll dig up some gauss and leibnitz for you



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 08:36 AM
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Originally posted by AlienCarnage
Also consider this, paintings on stone last much longer than text written on paper, and stone carvings last have the possibility of lasting far, far longer.

Actually, I'd consider that a sign of an advanced civilization. Having something that's effective, fast, available to everyone and easy to work with is far more advanced than stone carving. Much less skill involved of course, skill can easily outweigh advanced.

Personally I think you're looking at the wrong area. Our language make us understand each other and make us able to record history, yes... But the signs of an advanced civilization is so much more.

For example, our society now span most of the globe. No other civilizations known to us have even come close as they where all localized to specific areas (or cities). Funnily enough, not even the mythical advanced civilizations.

[edit on 5-5-2009 by merka]



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 08:48 AM
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reply to post by debunky
 



Why could it not be changed into a pictorial drawing? The question for you is what would a future civilization derive from this, without a detailed explenation that may or may not be understood?



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 08:59 AM
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reply to post by merka
 




For example, our society now span most of the globe. No other civilizations known to us have even come close as they where all localized to specific areas (or cities). Funnily enough, not even the mythical advanced civilizations.


Funny, I know this may be an incorrect thought, but I have always considered overpopulation an example of an unadvanced civilization, damaging the very environment we need to live.

I don't believe in the advanced civilizations that sound as though they are from some comic book, like flying ships, glass domes, etc, I simply think that the term needs to be reclassified as to what constitutes and advanced civilization. In my thought process even the native americans were more advanced in that they knew how to live in harmony with the land, they spread their history through word of mouth, a verbal history, which may not sound as though it is a solid meathod for keeping a historical record, but from the recounts that I have heard it is not that far from if you would be able to read it on a cave wall painting somewhere would they have recorded their history this way.

[edit on 5/5/2009 by AlienCarnage]



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 09:17 AM
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Originally posted by AlienCarnage
reply to post by debunky
 



Why could it not be changed into a pictorial drawing? The question for you is what would a future civilization derive from this, without a detailed explenation that may or may not be understood?


How could it be?
You can only swap out the symbols for something else. But it is an abstract idea, with no relation to realworld stuff you could depict in a naturalistic fashion.
And that even though its basic geometry! (euclidian no less) It is already too abstract to turn into a picture (you can paint the squares and the triangle, but what do you do with the + and the =?)

You need symbols to generalize and present abstract concepts, and those can be very handy! Now the meaning of symbols can get lost of course, that is an unfortunate sideeffect of time, but without symbols your vocabulary is very limited indeed!



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 12:23 PM
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Another hallmark of an advanced society is the diversification of labor or shared services (trades exchanging services, first seen in Sumer).



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 12:48 PM
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I know it comes off as me saying that we are not an advanced civilization, but that is not exactly what I am trying to convey with this thread, I am trying to convey that many of the ancient and lost civilizations may in fact be advanced civilizations if we re-examine what exactly constitutes an advanced civilization. I simply use our civilization to point out that future civilizations my see us as a non advanced civilization based on some observations about how we act and record information, in order to point out that we may be doing the same to past civilizations that a future ones may do to us.



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 12:58 PM
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The issue is, i think, advanced compared to what? If we would take a nomadic tribe as a ground level - then of course all the ancient civilizations (and current one) are advanced in comparison to it.
If a reference is Roman empire for example - then as far as technological, social, cultural , scientific, philosophical comparison goes - there would be only a few civilizations more advanced. All much later.
So what is the reference you compare to?

[edit on 5-5-2009 by ZeroKnowledge]



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 01:58 PM
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I think this may be the problem in itself. We try to run a comparison based upon what we believe to be an advanced civilization, which does not seem to me to be an accurate assessment of another civilization.
Think about it this way the Native American people were thought of as a “savage” civilization because they were compared against what was thought of as an advanced civilization. They did not believe the land could be owned by anyone, an advanced way of thinking and they knew how to farm the land, also advanced for a “savage” people. If these people were to get looked at in this light by those who labeled the Native American people “savages”, they might have seen an advanced civilization, maybe not in technology so to speak, but in other things such as way of life.
I suppose even in the above example I am running a comparison, but there has to be a better way in which to denote an advanced civilization.



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 02:18 PM
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Originally posted by AlienCarnage
If these people were to get looked at in this light by those who labeled the Native American people “savages”, they might have seen an advanced civilization, maybe not in technology so to speak, but in other things such as way of life.
I suppose even in the above example I am running a comparison, but there has to be a better way in which to denote an advanced civilization.

Without a written language, they wouldn't even be considered a "civilization" at all, much less advanced or not advanced.

They were (are) a culture, not a civilization.

Harte



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by AlienCarnage
but there has to be a better way in which to denote an advanced civilization.

There is, if you define advanced first. If you go ONLY by say living in tune with nature, then there where plenty of "advanced" civilizations compared to us. I think that is entirerly wrong way to judge a civilization though, because its too loopsided. By this definition, monkeys have a more advanced civilization than us. I would bring in multiple, basic factors:

- Mathematics, philosophy and theoretical science
- Cultural achievements
- Transportation
- Communication
- Sources of power

Just to name a few.

Then you have to judge the scales in each areas. Native Americans for example would still fit several of these: using smoke signals is communication, using horses is transportation and making a fire is making use of energy. But its rather low on the scale compared to things like the internet, nuclear powered hover cars or creating an artificial sun. It becomes harder to compare the higher you get on the scale. Saying that steam power beats fire is easy, but saying that moderatly inneffective fusion power beat effective zero-waste nuclear power is harder.

[edit on 5-5-2009 by merka]



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 02:33 PM
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reply to post by Harte
 


This is where I beleive that our concepts should change. The Native American people where far more than a culture to call them this is IMHO just as much an insult as calling them "savages". The whole Goth thing is a culture, even the conspiracy theroists are a culture, so how can an entire race of people be considered a culture and not a civilization, just because they have no written language?

Maybee I am talking about rewriting our textbooks on these things, but would that be such a bad thing?

If we consider that the Native Amercan people were and are a civilization, would this in turn change our view as to what constitutes an advanced civilisation as well?



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:25 PM
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The ancient Greeks had most of what we would call an advanced civilization - philosophy, mathematics, a true written language. They made many cultural achievements and left edifices of grandeur. They even developed a level of sophisticated technology, based on their knowledge of geometry. Yet their teachings only survived due to the Arabic translations and commentary, while the Greek civilization collapsed. Of course the people and culture still exist, but not the ancient Greek city-state governments.

I think the one true barometer of "advanced civilization" is the ability to survive intact any dire calamity, such as epic flooding, earthquake, or total warfare. An advanced enough technology to ensure their civilizations peoples and government can spread (peacefully), with a high quality of life.

No modern civilization can boast that claim, a natural disaster (comet strike, flood/draught, pandemic) could still claim every current government or people their existence. Not until we achieve a thriving space colonization program or complete clime control or defense of our world from asteroid/comet strike can we ourselves claim to be advanced.



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by Harte

Without a written language, they wouldn't even be considered a "civilization" at all, much less advanced or not advanced.

They were (are) a culture, not a civilization.

Harte


I'm not so sure about that.

Here is a video I uploaded a while ago.

Caral Supe Pre-writing and Pre-pottery

(click to open player in new window)


[edit on 5-5-2009 by SLAYER69]



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 08:13 PM
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reply to post by AlienCarnage
 



I'm a strong advocate that 'advanced' is in the eye of the beholder.

People in the 1st world often compare other cultures to themselves as the marker for advanced. All of them are bound by their own complex traditions and moral codes.

Writing defines civilization? Up until the 20th century we had writing, but only the upper mostly male class could read and write. Does that mean that the European civilization who only had a very small percentage with the skill, were less or more civilised?
Writing knowledge is mostly a sign of prosperity (originally law keeping, lore keeping and accounting) and education. Does prosperity equate to civilization? Ones idea of gold as proseprity is anothers idea as a useless metal, instead they place 'value' on items needed for survival.When thay have items in abundance that then makes them prosperous.

Why is committing Lore to memory less of a advancement than writing it down? I actually think writing is lazier on the brain! Or is using barter for trade any less advanced than exchanging pieces of metal to which you have attributed 'made up' values? It is different way of record keeping and accounting, not less intelligent or civilized.

To a indigenous group that trades in skins, this is of more import to them to survive than a gold coin with numbers. If a society equates value to barter for essential survival instead of trading metallic values, does that make them less intelligent or civilized?...Possibly quite the opposite given today's trading scenarios.

No human group is genetically more advanced than another. So biologically we are at roughly the same level, just individuals have different IQs and different access to education. Watch Trading places.....
Where cultures had no writing, they had a strong oral and singing tradition. These ARE education and mind developing skills, just like math. A Yogi Swami is that socities version of a quantum physics professor. They've both done the learning time, just learned different facts.

Oral commitment is in itself is a great skill and a form of education: Its a learning skill committing legends, clan stories, medicines, farming skills, hunting and gathering skills or spiritual beliefs by heart. It also stands to reason that civilizations are differently developed in singing, dancing and rhythm. Why are music and physical developments less civilized?

Why is the warrior who's physical skills are incredible, less of a human development than the French Revolutionist who could trade in a shop with basic numbers and letters but also lopped off peoples heads?
Why is the Shamans skills less 'knowledge and learning' than a doctor? they have different facts to commit to mind, and different ways of learning them, but they are both skilled professionals.

Is the 'civilization' we have brought to Indigenous Australians better or worse than what they had? They had a very advanced social structure that worked for them. Our 'civlization' has forced many of them into a cycle of abject poverty, violence and alcoholism. So many are lost without the advanced traditions taught by elders (not all).

Our rules for 'civility' have helped them to lose their own.

Was taking the stolen Generation from their mothers and placing them in white familes the civilised thing to do?
Was introducing them to alcohol that they genetically have no gene to process it the civilsed thing to do.?
Was introducing them to syphlis and attempting to genocidly wipe them out with that and arsenic the civilsed thing to do?
Just because the 'Whites' could read and write didn't make them more advanced and civilized. They dessimated a 60 000 year old balanced and complex non-writing society. If it lasted that long, something must have been working? That's advanced isnt it?

My mother grew up a village peasant, with no education and so incredibly poor, and I can tell you she is far more intelligent and civilized than silly ol' me who she put through university.

Zazzy F






[edit on 6-5-2009 by zazzafrazz]



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 08:31 PM
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There has never been a truly advanced civilization in the history of our world, because man does not strive to set himself apart from beasts. Instead he attempts to be the most vicious, strongest beast!

Only when mankind is truly free, will we be united in peace. Until then we will never have an advanced society.



posted on May, 6 2009 @ 06:28 AM
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reply to post by zazzafrazz
 


Wow, that is pretty much along the lines I was thinking, but you stated it much better than I did.



posted on May, 7 2009 @ 08:19 AM
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Originally posted by AlienCarnage
reply to post by Harte
 


This is where I beleive that our concepts should change. The Native American people where far more than a culture to call them this is IMHO just as much an insult as calling them "savages". The whole Goth thing is a culture, even the conspiracy theroists are a culture, so how can an entire race of people be considered a culture and not a civilization, just because they have no written language?

Maybee I am talking about rewriting our textbooks on these things, but would that be such a bad thing?

If we consider that the Native Amercan people were and are a civilization, would this in turn change our view as to what constitutes an advanced civilisation as well?

Problem is, there is an anthropological definition for "civilization."

When scientists talk about different cultures from the past, they have a system for classifying the various different forms these cultures took.

It's not necessarily a hierarchy, but similar aspects evinced by different cultures place the different cultures into the same categories.

Thus, establishment of permanent towns, division of labor, agriculture, political bodies, a written language and these sorts of things must be qualities reflected by any ancient (or present-day) culture for them to be classified as a "civilization."

You propose that we change these words. I'd say it's an unlikely thing to expect. After all, what's the difference? What matters which wprd we used to name any particular classification of societal groupings?

Lastly, the word "savages" is not part of the classification system, and that word easily applies to many a past (and present) civilization, as well as past (and present) cultures.

The Mayan civilization, for example, was an extremely savage one in a great many aspects, as were the Sumerian, Egyptian, and others.

Harte



posted on May, 7 2009 @ 07:38 PM
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reply to post by Harte
 


Harte, that's correct, there are different classifications.
But I think Aliencarnege is hopeful they aren't classifed in a heirachy.

From what I can see AC wants to define 'advanced', not define 'civilization'...am I right or wrong AC?

There are different perceptions of 'advanced' outside anthropological circles, and I think AC is talking about those? Such as if one is more 'technologically advanced' that tends to put them into a superior heirachy compared to Hunter Gatherer societies.

Segway: Regarding Anthropological classifications, what Anthropologits state is being shunned by Indigenous Australians. Just yesterday represenation for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders came another step closer to changing the law where Anthropoligists are no longer called in to testify on ANY judicial or social welfare aspects regarding them, they are reclaiming knowledge of their own people and will only allow Indigenous people to be 'experts' on 'classifying' them.

So how Anthrolpology classifies anything regarding them will no longer matter judicially in Terra Australis when the law is passed (which its looking very likely to do ) They just dont care about being 'studied' by 'White Men' and classified anymore. Interesting I thought.


[edit on 7-5-2009 by zazzafrazz]



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