************** A Definition of Civilisation A Definition Of Civilization by Philip Atkinson All Human achievements are first thoughts before they become things. So the creations of communities such as cities, governments, armies, as well as communal achievements such as conquests and discoveries— everything that goes to make a civilization — must spring from a community's thoughts. Hence: A Civilization: is a community that dominates all other communities by violence. A Community: is that group of people sharing a common understanding—a communal understanding— who reveal themselves by using the same language, manners, customs and law, which is their tradition. Communal Understanding: is that single understanding allowed by the set of values common to each member of a community. For example it is this influence that decided one community to persecute the scientist Galileo and suppress his notions, while another community to honour the scientist Isaac Newton and embrace his notions. It controls the community. Expressed And Refined By Conversation Communal Understanding exists, as it is expressed, in the unique language of the citizens, who mould it by their conversation. Conversation: is the daily expression and exchange of individual opinions; a mechanism that refines communal understanding by promoting popular, while suppressing unpopular, notions. That is, all those ideas which match common feelings of right and wrong, will be repeated and magnified into reasons to act, while those which receive little or no support will inevitably be ignored; which makes conversation the ideas filter, or the mind, of the community. A Communal Mind: is similar in operation to an individual mind, except that audible conversation replaces silent thoughts; but the mechanism of understanding is the same—ideas, expressed in words, which are filtered by a code of values to determine which should become reasons for action. If a man is an irrational vegetarian crank whose conversation is mainly tirades against imaginary persecutors, then it is this process that will decide the man's future— whether as a despised social outcast, or as an absolute monarch, like Hitler. This does not mean that everyone believes what is popular, but unpopular concepts are ignored. Consequently: 1. By sharing the same process of thought as individuals, communal minds are subject to the same shortcomings of understanding as individuals: i. Understanding appears only after the formation of a basic set of values (morality), which become an essential and immutable part of the creature. ii. Personality As the understanding of an individual confers a personality, so does the understanding of a community, and this the culture of the community. iii. Honesty depends upon their nature, if unselfish, they will revere truth; otherwise truth will be discarded in favour of convenience. (See the two modes of communities.) iv. Sanity may be lost, a graphic example being the Nazi phenomenon, when a whole nation behaved like a lunatic. v. Senility may occur as the organ that allows understanding fails; in the individual it is a corruption of the brain, and in a community it is a corruption of tradition. (see the difference between Insanity and Senility .) 2. As words are the currency of thought, the use of language is critical to both private and public understanding, with the particular choice of words revealing the nature of an author's understanding. So the nature of the literature published by a community must reflect the nature of that community's understanding. Hence the history of a community's literature must be the history of that community's understanding. 3. As the nature and concerns of communal conversation are echoed by the media, the media can be considered the mirror of the mind of our society, with the character displayed by the media being the character of our civilization. 4. All intelligence has a memory, and communal memory is made up of the manners, customs, language, laws, and beliefs: the tradition of the community, which must be maintained by succeeding generations. The Strength Of An Understanding is a function of the knowledge, determination and ability to think clearly of that understanding; and is revealed by the understanding's ability to assert itself. As an understanding can only assert itself over other understandings by violence, or its threat, this is why the history of humanity is the violent resolution of opposing understandings —war. Hence: 1. The Wealth And Achievements obtained by communal understanding are dependent upon the successful use of violence, or its threat. 'Pax Romana' only existed as long as the Ancient Romans were willing and able to inflict superior violence upon their enemies. 2. A Community That Recoils From Violence is a community whose understanding has become senile and is thus doomed. A Simple Example of the creation and development of a Communal Understanding (a community) can be found in the book "The Great Trek" by Oliver Ransford. This history of the Boers describes how these people came together and formed a communal understanding, expressed in its own unique language —Afrikaner. It also reveals the essential role of violence necessary for the Boers to assert themselves among other communities. Indeed Boer tradition celebrates victories like Vegkop and Blood River as of crucial and lasting significance. ************************* Interesting, what? You feel that India of today has nothing to be proud about, while you have. I would not comment. However, read the above and what I append below and I will leave it to you and other posters to decide that while you feel India has nothing to rave about, one wonders if China is a shining star! I dare say the Cultural Revolution, Tienanmen Square, Repression of the Falun Gong, Tibetans, Uighurs, the destruction of culture, traditions, language, religion of indigenous people in history as the Chinese Empire bulldozed its way toward South and East China are indication of civilisation. Indeed, the may be; but rather repressive and extraordinary that it was similar to the Holocaust, except that unlike the Jews who were exterminated, the indigenous people of China were not totally exterminated. If that is Civilisation, then that is something a total horrendous Wow! A great civilisation as you claim is of China had differentiated some of its population as Barbarians. Imagine, they were given generic names in the Chinese classics and histories: the Yi barbarians to the East, the Man to the South, Rong to the West and Di to the North. Until the 1930s, the names of the outgroups (wai ren) were commonly written in characters with the animal radical: the Di, a northern tribe were linked to the dog; the Man and Min of the South were characterised with reptiles; the Qiangs were written with a sheep radical. This reflected the Han Chinese conviction that civilisation and culture were linked with humanity; alien groups living outside the pale of Han society were regarded as inhuman savages. The custom of sharply distinguishing between the inner and outer people went along with the calling China the Middle Kingdom (zhong guo) , which began by ruling the Central plain (zhongyang) in North China. Rather than using outright military conquest, the theory of ‘using the Chinese ways to transform the barbarians (yongxiabianyi)’ was promulgated. By cultural absorption or racial integration through intermarriage, a barbarian could become a Han Chinese (Hanhua). Now, that is some civilisation I must say! Please spare us your homilies and whitewash. We are also educated lest you felt otherwise!