Saturday, June 7, 2008
What Is Civilization & Why Does It Not Allow For Valuing Openness To Diversity?
Civilization is a species of literacy, from which emerges a society in which there is an attempt to achieve consistency in our accounts of what exists and can exist. It requires also a phonetic alphabet with symbols for the common vowel sounds. There must be a written language of this exact sort, which allows for publication to the multitude, not just to a priesthood, when high-level ideas are articulated. This is why China is not civilized, and even this year has been firing into crowds of monks. Genesis, with its two flood stories in contradiction to each other, illustrates the transition to civilization; they have part but not all of the minimum requirements. The Ionian settlers show the first civilization. The written language, by that point, allows for a kind of publishing that would make accessible to the many, articulated exposition of the most important ideas, and there is an attempt at getting consistency in the accounts of what exists. If we value openness to diversity instead, the attempt at an overall consistency has been abandoned in principle, and civilization falls below its minimum threshold value.