What IsA Civilization? In elementary school I was taught it was any social organization meeting 3 criteria:

Here's a list of 5 requirements, which seems poorly structured.


In college I enjoyed Sigmund Freud's "Civilization and its Discontents" (excerpt). If Civilization imposes such great sacrifices not only on man's sexuality but on his aggressivity, we can understand better why it is hard for him to be happy in that civilization. In fact, primitive man was better off in knowing no restrictions of instinct. To counterbalance this, his prospects of enjoying this happiness for any length of time were very slender. Civilized man has exchanged a portion of his possibilities of happiness for a portion of security.

Feb'2007: Kevin Kelly assembles a taxonomy of models of stages of Civilization. The most robust multi-axis space of possible civilizations that I’ve come across is one created as a world-creation tool kit for Role Playing Game-s: The Cosmic Creation Netbook (Beyond Heroes)... The earliest ones rank civilizations by their use of materials (stone, brass, iron), the later ones rank by a society’s use of energy, and most recently the schemes rank by the civilization’s control of information.

No-one ever expects the Collapse Of Complex Societies!

As my "IsA" usage implies, why does it matter how one defines civilization? It only matters when one generalizes. "Because A IsA civilization,...", either "it's better than B which isn't" or "it alienates people", or whatever.

WebSeitzWiki: CivilizatIon (last edited 2015-02-20 14:44:10 by BillSeitz)

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