Civilization's Enfluences

Discussion in 'Education' started by Nemo Securus, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Nemo Securus
    Offline

    Nemo Securus Captain Common Sense

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    201
    Thanks Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    The Old North State
    Ratings:
    +13
    There have been numerous different societies throughout history, each contributing a bit to what the world has become today. What I am wanting to know is, which, of all of these vast civilizations, was the most beneficial to human-kind? Was it the Sumerians, the Egyptians, Mayans and other South American cultures, Romans, Persians, Chinese, British and/or Western Europe, or Americans? Please state your answer with a strong explanation, as this is something I am very interested in.
     
  2. Gungnir
    Offline

    Gungnir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    532
    Thanks Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ratings:
    +26
    America in specific and Western Civilization in general; may be the greatest contributor to Humanity because of Electronics. I can't be sure that we haven't unleashed something that is beyond our evolved abilities. But I say that about state level society as well.
     
  3. morpheus
    Offline

    morpheus Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    86
    Thanks Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +14
    You'd be surprised how interdependent the achievements of all civilizations are. Something invented by X country was based on a previous invention by Y country, which was based on an earlier scientific discovery in Z country. This happens all the time, and it spans continents too.

    Two corrections I also need to make:

    The term "Western Europe" is ambiguous when discussing civilizational history. Dividing Europe into two halves for the sake of such a discussion is fallacious, not only because of the ambiguous line between these two halves but also because the differences between the two halves are highly subjective. Europe, being both a small continent and a very maritime continent, has always been a highly interconnected continent; European societies from east to west have influenced each other for millenia, and Europe is to this day the least diverse landmass (Africa, Asia, and the Americas [pre- and post-Columbian] are all much more ethnically and religiously diverse than Europe). The vast majority of Europeans -east and west alike- belong to the Indo-European ethnolinguistic groups and historically Christian traditions.

    The Mayans were a North American -not South American- civilization. The Mayan civilization was in -what is now- southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, on the North American continent, and the descendants of the Mayans -including both direct Mayan descendants and Mestizos- still live in that area. The major South American civilization you may be thinking of are the Incas.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  4. editec
    Offline

    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    41,427
    Thanks Received:
    5,598
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Maine
    Ratings:
    +5,617
    Interesting question.

    I'm not entirely sure that one can so easily parce the achievements of any civilization out from any other in the way you are asking us, though.

    First of all because there was a LOT more intereaction between civilizations than most of us assume, and secondly because I am not entirely sure that civilizations drove progress completely on their own, either.

    Here's a thought...the non-civilized barbarians which kept coming off the steppes of Asia (for thousands of years) probably drove mankind's progress as much as the civilized nations did.

    Primative-civilizations (invading tribes) brought more advances than the advanced civilizations they keep threatening...that's how they became threats (and often took over) those established civilizations to begin with.


    Most EURO tribes started out on the steppes of central Asia, you know. The Celts, the Germans, the Slaves, all came off those steppes and their impact on the Mediteranian and European people was pretty damned dramatic.


    May I offer the following read for those of you interested in this kind of question?

    The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community by William H. McNeill.
     
  5. Baruch Menachem
    Offline

    Baruch Menachem '

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    14,204
    Thanks Received:
    3,235
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Ratings:
    +3,305
    Your Avitar and your question bring up an interesting quote. Ghandi was asked what he thought of Western Civilization. He said it would be a great idea.
     
  6. Baruch Menachem
    Offline

    Baruch Menachem '

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    14,204
    Thanks Received:
    3,235
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Ratings:
    +3,305
    As to the actuall question, editec has the right handle on this. I think Western Civilization has been a great idea, but it has been different things at different times, and it is so full of other influence that it is hard to parcel out what really defines it, as a system.

    The cool things that maybe define the west are really very old, but what made it powerful is the more general application and widespread influence of its basic ideas.

    The most basic and important part of western civilization comes from the greeks. I am going to call it the tribal compact rather than the social contract just to be ornery, and I think I want to avoid some of the baggage of the correct term. I feel that what makes the West great is the idea that society is an agreement between all its members on what morals should be, how they should be enforced, mutual agreement on protection for all. The idea of a commonwealth of agreed upon principles, even if not always followed, as the basis for the social order, rather than an ordained by some deity to the benefit of the clergy was the single biggest step in creating the modern world. Flush toilets are great, I couldn't live without them, I think. Video games are also cool. But they don't define progress or civilization. Ever more democratic governance from Greek times to the present has been the basis for most of the progress we have seen, especially over the last 90 years or so.
     
  7. jla1178
    Offline

    jla1178 Rank Stranger

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    353
    Thanks Received:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Ratings:
    +40
    Sumerians/Egyptians-beer (need I say more?) :D
     
  8. CA95380
    Offline

    CA95380 USMB Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,779
    Thanks Received:
    186
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Central California
    Ratings:
    +186
    This question sounds like something a student would ask, wanting USMB members to find his answer, while he is getting ready to go out clubbing on a Saturday night. lol :D

    [​IMG]
     
  9. plt42
    Offline

    plt42 A Constitutionalist

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    303
    Thanks Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Gulf Coast of Texas
    Ratings:
    +40
    I would have to answer that the early Greeks were most influential in evolved civilizations. They brought to the world architecture, philosophy, art... but most importantly, mathematics. I'm a bit partial to my choice in two ways:

    1) I love the absoluteness of math. Basically, there are no gray areas. You're either right or wrong.

    2) My grandfather immigrated to this country from the island of Corfu when he was only 17.
     
  10. Baruch Menachem
    Offline

    Baruch Menachem '

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    14,204
    Thanks Received:
    3,235
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Ratings:
    +3,305
    You have a suspicious mind. But you are a grandma who has seen three generations try to get out of doing homework. :salute:

    It is a fun question no matter what the motivation.
     

Share This Page