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What is Civilization?

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posted on May, 12 2013 @ 08:28 PM
Some say it has to do with buildings things, viewing the land as a construction kit and furthering technology.

Perhaps others might say that rendition of "civilization" was a functional modernist barbarism, that led to mechanized holocausts.
Perhaps that belief will lead to our own extinction, since it only takes from the land without giving back.

When did people become "civilized"?
Was it a colonial label and justification to steal things from people who were considered "uncivilized"?

Is keeping the same technology for thousands of years a mark of civilization, or must it always be dynamic?

Perhaps it's more about good manners, and it has nothing to with advancing technology?

All views are welcome.

Well, in the 1990 film Gremlins II the monsters wanted "civilization".
But we all knew: They can't handle civilization!
Only a species as tough as ourselves can bear "civilization".

edit on 12-5-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 08:48 PM

Originally posted by halfoldman
Perhaps it's more about good manners, and it has nothing to with advancing technology?

Some of each, probably.
I have thought about this question a bit, and come my own definition as one that is rather strict. That not only do you have to have some technology to make like comfortable, and a standard of economic success that enables this to happen for almost everyone, but (more importantly) you also have to have a free and just society where people are treated properly and fairly. Where there are proper legal procedures. Where there is proper accountability in government.

Under my definition, all those ancient "civilisations" you've heard of, were not.
The ancient Egyptians, as an example. The rulers, leaders etc, could kill you with no repercussions. The average citizens lived a tough life with no proper health care, and died young.
To me, thats not a "civilisation", no matter how fancy the temples or palaces might have been.

Under my definition, "civilisation" is such a difficult thing to achieve, that almost no groups of people on earth have ever achieved it.

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 09:43 PM
To me the North Sentinelese on Chiö-tá-kwö-kwe are what I would call a civilization. They have existed for thousands of years in a tight, well working group without obvious leadership and they understand the seasons.

Ok, they are primitive by modern standards but are not as barbaric as we 'modern' peoples.

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 10:30 PM
I remember, in the film Zulu, a scene in which a general of a petty Zulu kingdom reported to his King that, "We have won all our battles this year, virtually without bloodshed." The Zulus in those days practiced a style of warfare in which the two sides lined up about fifty yards from each other, sang songs, hurled insults, brandished spears, and once in a while actually threw a few. Injuries were rare, and when the battle was over, everyone went home to dinner. I looked at that illiterate man, clad in untrimmed cowhides, and realized that he was more civilized than his nattily-attired British counterpart. It's more than just the level of technology, folks.

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 10:44 PM
reply to post by Lazarus Short

I can agree in general when it came to traditional tribal warfare.
The casualties are very low compared to the numbers of people that are involved.

However, the Zulus did not not beat the British in open battle with that philosophy.

Shortly before that they had a warrior king called Shaka who introduced the shorter stabbing spear (ilkwa) and regimental maneuvers based on the skull of a bull.
While facing the head of the bull, the horns would gradually encircle the enemy.

Shaka brought every tribe to submission and caused the Mfecane (the crushing wars) which reverberated up to Tanzania.

He also reduced many tribes to starvation and cannibalism, and ironically emptied much of the land for white settlement.

Shaka's first battle dramatized for film:

edit on 12-5-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 11:00 PM
Civilization is where people work together to solve problems in a peaceful manner. Dissenters and non conformists are pushed into bottomless pits or off of cliffs. Also people who are just "different" than the rest of us!

posted on May, 13 2013 @ 09:36 AM
Civilization (to me) is when a group of people get together in an area, and pool their talents to create a community where a person can get the goods and services they need from different people, in exchange for what they bring to the table. This allows for specialization, so that one person doesn't have to know how to do everything, but can benefit from another's specialty.

After a time of doing this, this "group" of people develop some common ground, some common values, beliefs, rules of behavior, customs, art, music, etc. that then form the particular "flavor" of that civilization.

Maybe not a textbook answer, but I like it.

posted on May, 13 2013 @ 11:55 AM
I think civilization is a facade. Scratch the thin veneer and you will see the real humanity. What we know as civilization is a juggler. You throw something in the balancing act and it all comes crashing down.

Power failure turns off the lights without warning in a major city for an extended period of time.......

Shut down all means of electronic communication (phones, internet, radio)...........

A complete crash of the banking system in a country, money becomes worthless..............

You get the idea. People are civil because there are punishments for not being civil. Take away the threat of repercussions and there are enough people that will stop being civil to effect everyone's life. I'm not saying everyone will devolve to this but many will. Doesn't matter where you live; remove government, law enforcement, and prison and you will most definitely see a complete lack of civilization.

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