i was finishing Pinker’s the better angels of our nature… just as the american sniper came out.. so also reading review/opinions on that.. made me wonder much about civilization. my question from Pinker… is violence less.. or just more civilized about violence….. ie: meds we give people, increase in prison population, suicide rate.
i don’t know.
then while swimming a bit in the thought maybe site.. the idea ferments..
too large to comprehend.. too big to change..
people don’t care about fish being left to eat.. because they are in cities… separated.. from the wild. enslaved to a life full of abstract duties made up in an artificial world to keep them addicted to civilization and blindfolded to other ways of lives…
these are no accidents.. just the results of people believing in the domestication of each other and the environment
8 min – idea that machines can organize systems… the world is a system.. and the politicians duty was to maintain that system.. our definition of system is too small – leaves out the immeasurable..
we made it impossible to live in one place without taking resources from somewhere else… starting seeing everyone as resources.. instead of living souls… property/ownership became huge..
so – what can we do now..
12 min – convince me i will change the world by changing the way i shop?
civilization is not sustainable because it’s based on cities.. competition… consumerism..
any way of life based on use of non-renewable resources two things happen: 1)you require the importation of resources 2) depend on violence..
16 min – we have to stop the civilization from killing us
18 min – why are so many passive/oblivious
25 mi – focus on lifestyle changes.. is less effective… focus on decreasing the demand is to start on the wrong end.. what needs to end is the exploitation itself.. ie: the machines destroying/cutting/spraying…
28 min – outsourcing of basic survival skills.. makes us less resilient..
we are addicted to civilization.. we have to realize we are not dependent on civilization.. but on clean air/water/relationships..
30 min – overconsumption leads to numbness
31 min – people need time and awareness
civilized people addicted to the things that are killing them
32 min – Wade Davis – modernity – not failed attempts at being modern.. but wonderful attempts at being alive
38 min – most of the time civilized people are occupied by work.. they don’t have time to stop civilization… can only be working against the system half time.. half to perpetuate half to protest
41 min – fear is what keeps many people from fighting… fear of losing privilege.. fear of
perhaps seeing ie: play as subversive, is the myth obliging this manner of civilization we now oblige. when perhaps it’s the civilization that is subversive to our nature. [civilization ness does seem to have intent… and so can’t imagine – and is even fearful of – the idea of play w/o intent. you can fight/define intent/subversive ness.. but it’s hard to battle – aka control – whimsy.]
– – –
forests and streets ness.
share via Michel on fb:
… of civilization:
“There are at least eight principal attributes that clearly characterize all civilized societies:
1. A hierarchical social organization dominated by a power elite which is not accountable to the powerless majority and for whose actions there is little or no redress.
2. Concentration of power and wealth in fortified urban centers.
3. Written language, the understanding and use of which are monopolized by the elite and its functionaries.
4. An economic system which vests title to the wealth produced by the society in the elite and controls that wealth by a strictly measured allocation of all industrial, agricultural, forestry, and mining resources within the control of the central power.
5. Skills, training, and labor specialization designed to serve the goals of the power elite.
6. Extensive slavery or serfdom.
7. A grand mythology portraying society as originating from and continuing to be influenced by suprahuman powers with the elite as the conduit of that influence.
8. A military establishment which is utilized not only for external defense and aggression but also for internal control and repression of the dispossessed majority.”
cancer and the autoimmune disease of various sorts are, by and large, diseases of civilization.
while industrialized society organized along the capitalist model has solved many problems for many of its members – such as housing, food supply and sanitation – it has also created numerous new pressures even for those who do not need to struggle for the basics of existence…
we have come to take these stresses for granted as inevitable consequences of human life.. as if human life existed in an abstract form separable from the human beings who live it..
from David Shenk’s the forgetting:
in the 1980s, as researchers began to contemplate the possibility of trying to defeat alzheimer’s disease.. the search for a fitting animal mode became paramount. no one could develop a successful alz drug w/o first testing it, and refining it on animals.. in order to save human lives, many thousands of nonhuman lives would first be forfeited to science..
perhaps.. better to not create disease in first place.. perhaps today we have means to leap to that.. restart us.. global do-over.. and for that.. we need enough of us humans modeling a way 7bn could leap to today..
the trouble was that, as far as anyone could tell no other creature naturally suffers from alzheimer’s. it is a disease os sophistication..
oy.. like civilization.. which is a great name for dis ease..
how is this not a red flag..?
so looked for best possible sub.. indications of a less elaborate senile dementia in lesser developed mammals. at ten or eleven yrs of age, they noted, some dogs start to have sleeping trouble, pacing around at night and getting lost in familiar surroundings..
schooling the world.. dogs included..
Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) tweeted at 6:38 AM – 25 Jun 2018 :
Some folks say “civility” and what they mean is docility and compliance (http://twitter.com/audreywatters/status/1011227144373096449?s=17)
McKenzie Wark (@mckenziewark) tweeted at 5:56 PM on Mon, Jun 25, 2018:
I find that a useful distinction. https://t.co/RkIxmP8pLI
via link.. thread fro m@BigMeanInternet:
I don’t think I’ve ever invoked the idea of “civility” in my entire life. It’s like manners in spite of context, when manners are all about context. What a worthless idea.
My connotation for “civility” is “Being a dick, but with plausible deniability because the social conflicts that structure the world to your advantage are doing the work for you.
And I associate civility with money not just because the rich set the standards for appropriate behavior, but because both money and civility are used as substitutes for actual character.
I also associate it with community leaders who smile and cut ribbons during the day and put on masks before they hurt people at night. It’s about the containment of conflict/violence in its proper sphere.
It’s not for nothing that the word shares an origin with “citizen,” a term that is arguably the world’s central tool for distributing violence and harm.
from Paul J Rosch page:
There is also evidence that increased stresses associated with progressive civilization, contribute to cancer.
Tanchou noted that “cancer like insanity increases in a direct ratio to the civilization of the country”.
Similarly, Roberts wrote in Malignancy and Evolution (1926), “I take the view commonly held that, whatever its origin, cancer is very largely a disease of civilization”.
Sir Robert McCarrison, a physician who had studied 11,000 Hunza natives in Kashmir from 1904-1911. Cancer was unknown, and these individuals seemed to preserve their youthful physique and appearance well into their sixties and seventies, and to enjoy unusual longevity. McCarrison attributed this to the fact that they were “far removed from the refinement of civilization…..and endowed with a nervous system of notable stability”. Both Stefansson and Schweitzer believed this had nothing to do with diet, but resulted entirely from the stresses associated with progressive civilization.
ronald wright on culture and civilization – 2012 – interview on progress (24 min):
9 min – culture is everything.. all of the belief/practices/styles.. of any society.. passed on rather than being innate.. civilization has a specific meaning.. essentially a culture/society that has reached a certain size/scale/complexity.. really don’t get civilization until after slow growth of agriculture.. end of last ice age.. the first experiments w farming only go back about 10-11 000 years.. ie: planting seeds.. then gardening into full scale agri.. then get a boom in population and social classes.. civilization..
11 min – i don’t think we’re necessarily any worse than others.. just because of tech advance and large numbers of us able to do more damage to earth than those in past
12 min – i consider it an experiment in civilization.. an experiment the jury hasn’t pronounced on yet.. what we have now is one big world civilization.. so no untouched pristine untouched pockets left.. that might proceed if we fail.. all no resting on one big high stakes throw
13 min – progress traps – begin very successful.. seductive.. ie: ice age hunters.. ruined hunting.. kill 200 mammoths rather than 2 rather than 1
16 min – i think civilization itself could be a progress trap.. our job is to make sure it isn’t.. we have to take what’s good and use that to build good progress.. something that will last.. rather than burning up everything for a short term binge.. right now we don’t know if we’re capable of doing that
17 min – i’m a great admirer of civilization and i want our experiment to succeed.. but as we do these things.. we’re putting everything at risk.. certainly everything we would think of as a civilized life..
ronald in doc – surviving progress:
31 min – (ronald): on civilization blazing down pristine places.. then another blaze starting somewhere else.. and now.. we have one huge civilization all around the world.. which we have to confront the possibility that the entire experiment of civilization is in itself a progress trap
from david graeber rt
David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 5:32 AM – 2 Oct 2018 :
Why do we cling to a concept of “Civilisation” that’s elitist, authoritarian, and systematically excludes the contributions of women? Current events in the Middle East tell us it’s time to rethink #civilisations – my new ideas piece @aeonmag
There is something wrong here. The word ‘civilisation’ stems from a very different source and ideal. In ancient times, civilis meant those qualities of political wisdom and mutual aid that permit societies to organise themselves through voluntary coalition
What until now has passed for ‘civilisation’ might in fact be nothing more than a gendered appropriation – by men, etching their claims in stone – of some earlier system of knowledge that had women at its centre.
From such a starting point, we can see the true history of living civilisation. It reaches back far beyond the earliest monarchies or empires, resisting even the most brutal incursions of the modern state. It’s a civilisation we really can recognise when we see it, taste it, touch it, even in these darkest hours. There can be no justification for the wanton destruction of ancient monuments. But let’s not confuse that with the living pulse of civilisation, which often resides in what at first glance seems small, domestic or mundane. There we will find it, beating patiently, waiting for the light.
from Judith Herman’s trauma & recovery:
rape and combat might thus be considered complementary social rites of initiation into the coercive violence at the foundation of adult society..t
David Wengrow article from oct 2018 – a history of true civilization is not one of monuments: https://aeon.co/ideas/a-history-of-true-civilisation-is-not-one-of-monuments
Civilisation could be found in material things, but above all it referred to a potential in human societies. In Mauss’s view, civilisation is what happens when discrete societies share morally and materially across boundaries, forming durable relationships that transcend differences. It might seem an abstract debate, but it’s not.
What was ‘civilised’ about playing Prokofiev in the beautiful wreckage of one ancient Syrian city, while the living population of another, Aleppo, to the north, was simultaneously under attack?
When people use the term ‘early civilisation’, they are mostly referring to Pharaonic Egypt, Inca Peru, Aztec Mexico, Han China, Imperial Rome, Ancient Greece or other ancient societies of a certain scale and monumentality. All of these were deeply stratified societies, held together mostly by authoritarian government, violence and the radical subordination of women. Sacrifice is the shadow lurking behind this concept of civilisation; the sacrifice of freedoms, of life itself, for the sake of something always out of reach – an idea of world order, the mandate of heaven, blessings from those insatiable gods.
There is something wrong here.The word ‘civilisation’ stems from a very different source and ideal. In ancient times,
civilis meant those qualities of political wisdom and mutual aid that permit societies to organise themselves through voluntary coalition..t
Mutual aid, social cooperation, civic activism, hospitality or simply caring for others: these are the kind of things that actually go to make civilisations. In which case, the true history of civilisation is only just starting to be written
These small prehistoric communities formed civilisations in the true sense of extended moral communities. Without permanent kings, bureaucrats or standing armies, they fostered the growth of mathematical and calendrical knowledge;..t.. advanced metallurgy, the cultivation of olives, vines and date palms, the invention of leavened bread and wheat beer. They developed the major textile technologies applied to fabrics and basketry, the potter’s wheel, stone industries and bead-work, the sail and maritime navigation. Through ties of kinship and commerce, they distributed these invaluable and cherished qualities of true civilisation. ..
Civilisation, in this new sense, forms a cultural tapestry of startling complexity and grandeur, centre-less and open-ended, woven from a million tiny social bonds..t
A moment’s reflection shows that women, their work, their concerns and innovations are at the core of this more accurate understanding of civilisation. Tracing the place of women in societies without writing often means using clues left, quite literally, in the fabric of material culture, such as painted ceramics that mimic both textile designs and female bodies in their forms and elaborate decorative structures. To take just one example, it’s hard to believe that the kind of complex mathematical knowledge displayed in early cuneiform documents, or in the layout of urban temples, sprang fully formed from the mind of a male scribe, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Far more likely, these represent knowledge accumulated in preliterate times, through concrete practices such as the applied calculus and solid geometry of weaving and beadwork. What until now has passed for ‘civilisation’ might in fact be nothing more than a gendered appropriation – by men, etching their claims in stone – of some earlier system of knowledge that had women at its centre..t
..the living pulse of civilisation, which often resides in what at first glance seems small, domestic or mundane. There we will find it, beating patiently, waiting for the light.
‘the first man, who, having enclosed a piece of ground, to who it occurred to say this is mine, and found people sufficiently simple to believe him, was the true founder of civil society…how many crimes, wars, murders, how many miseries and horrors mankind would have been spared by whim who, pulling up the stakes or filling in the ditch, had cried to his kind: beware of listening to this imposter; you are lost if you forget that the fruits are everyone’s and the earth no one’s‘.
for rousseau, this lost eden posed a challenge to the present while undermining the newly emergent myth of progress. european civilization was not some higher state or advancement over prior ‘primitive’ cultures. forward momentum could go in reverse, w positive attributes forgotten or suppressed in the frantic quest of improvement. modern civilization, not original sin, was the source of man’s defilement..
from derrick jensen‘s wikipedia page:
Derrick Jensen is primarily an advocate for indigenous peoples and wild nature, and an opponent of civilization, rejecting the notion that it can ever be an ethical or sustainable model for human society. He describes the linguistically and historically defensible definition of civilization as “a culture — that is, a complex of stories, institutions, and artifacts — that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities (civilization, see civil: from civis, meaning citizen, from Latin civitatis, meaning state or city),” and the definition of city as a group of “people living more or less permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and other necessities of life.” He explains that, by such definitions, civilizations and cities are both unsustainable:
Two things happen as soon as you require the importation of resources. One of them is that your way of living can never be sustainable, because, if you require the importation of resources, it means you’ve denuded the landscape of that particular resource, and, as your city grows, you’ll denude an ever-larger area. … And the other thing it means is that your way of life must be based on violence, because if you require the importation of resources, trade will never be sufficiently reliable because, if you require the importation of resources and the people in the next watershed over aren’t going to trade you for it, you’re going to take it.— Derrick Jensen, Book lecture for Endgame