Monday, January 21, 2013

What is Civilization?

What is Civilization?

[Crossposted from Lexiline.]

LexiLine is a list about the "History of Civilization", a concept which many people in academia incompletely understand, many thinking this to be the realm of specialized historians or monopolistically-oriented archaeologists examining ancient pots for signs of wear and tear.

But human civilization -- now as in the past -- is a far more complex development.

Civilization only thrives in societies that promote the necessary conditions for free inquiry and independent thinking. Those conditions lead to the innovations required to improve science and technology, whether this improvement is manifested in NASA missions to distant planets or the invention of new potters' wheels.

People who understand the "History of Civilization" as a "pots only" scenario will never fully understand or unravel man's past, because they are focused on only one part of the larger picture. To get the whole story, one must view the past from ancient man's point of view, in THEIR era.

Most modern researchers can not escape their own era and thus have no hope of understanding what actually happened in ancient days. Furthermore, the research scope must be interdisciplinary, or one will be left behind, as many have been, especially in soft sciences such as archaeology, a discipline which still does not recognize that the "priests" of ancient cultures were not potters, but, above all, astronomers.

I have a reason for saying that, as I have a seminal posting on Stonehenge coming up. NO POTS.

So let us look at "Civilization" in a broader perspective, in the words of Winston S. Churchill, a man who epitomizes "modern Civilization".

With a hat tip to CaryGEE, we quote
Winston S. Churchill, “Civilization,” Chancellor’s Address, University of Bristol, July 2, 1938
via Niall Ferguson Civilization: The West and the Rest
and Michael Kaplan at The New Jacksonian Blog,
citing to Winston S. Churchill, Blood, Sweat, and Tears ,
Randolph S. Churchill, ed. (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1941), pp. 45-46.:

"There are few words which are used more loosely than the word “Civilization.” What does it mean? It means a society based upon the opinion of civilians. It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs, the conditions of camps and warfare, of riot and tyranny, give place to parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained. That is Civilization—and in its soil grow continually freedom, comfort and culture. When Civilization reigns, in any country, a wider and less harassed life is afforded to the masses of the people. The traditions of the past are cherished, and the inheritance bequeathed to us by former wise or valiant men becomes a rich estate to be enjoyed and used by all.

The central principle of Civilization is the subordination of the ruling authority to the settled customs of the people and to their will as expressed through the Constitution. In this Island we have today achieved in a high degree the blessings of Civilization. There is freedom: there is law; there is love of country; there is a great measure of good will between classes: there is a widening prosperity. There are unmeasured opportunities of correcting abuses and making further progress."
Today we live in an era where the cardinal virtues of Civilization are greatly under siege and where we can only view the future with a certain amount of trepidation. The brave "new world" that the digital era was to bring has not materialized. Daily world news is still dominated by conflict and strife rather than by progress and peace. Even the law is marked by patent "wars" rather than patent cooperation for the good of the common weal.

It may be argued that Civilization always wins in the end and moves onward, but it is always a battle against the forces of yesteryear and various monopolistically inclined nations, groups, religions, organizations and schools of thought, who always have -- and today still continue -- to strive to bind mankind in the chains of ignorance and superstition.

It is our duty, especially the best and most capable of us, to counter the selfish voices of despots and tyrants, small and large, whether in politics or academia.

We must lead forward. That is always the pioneer spirit behind our own work.

Enjoy the coming posting on Stonehenge, a megalithic site not defined by pots, but rather by man's attempt to divine natural laws, as seen by them, in their era.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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