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[ba-unrev-talk] Fwd: [issues] What is civilization?

To: issues@isss.org
From: elohimjl <elohimjl@mail.zserv.tuwien.ac.at>

What events or situations contributed to the event known as 911?"

The event 911 is only a minor manifestation of one of the symptoms of the serious illness that humankind has been suffering during millennia.

"Man makes himself" (Gordon Childe) may help to grasp how some of our ancestors developed their humaneness while others chose to develop their in-humaneness. The account of the trajectory of the whole civilization is still dramatically waiting a scientific explanation of the controversial history of every society constituted.

...a minor manifestation that is leading to terrorize millions of innocent people for the sake of fighting against terrorism.

After only few millennia of civilizing experiences, it is urgently necessary:

1)      To comprehend what led Michael de Montaigne to say: "Let man make me understand by the force of his reason, upon what foundations he has built those great advantages he has over other creatures. Who has made him believe that this admirable motion of the celestial arch, the eternal light of those luminaries that roll so high over his head, the wondrous and fearful motions of that infinite ocean, should be established and continue so many ages for his service and convenience. Can anything be imagined so ridiculous, that this miserable and wretched creature, who is not so much as master of himself, but subject to the injuries of all things, should call himself master and emperor of the world of which he has not power to know the least part much less to command the whole? (Quoted by Ernst Cassirer, 1944)

2)      To reflect on the answer given by Mahatma Ghandi when asked what he thought of Western Civilization: "I think it would be a good idea" he said.

3)      To notice that nobody can forecast when exactly our wonderful civilized way of life could collapse, but to recognize that there are plenty of reasons which oblige to believe that it might inexorably happen because many researchers, scholars and experts keep trying to get funding for maintaining the fascinated trends of the prevalent civilization. Lewis Mumford pointed out more than 50 years ago "What happened to Greece, Rome, China, or India has no parallel in the world today: when those civilizations collapsed, they were surrounded by neighbors that had reached nearly equal levels of culture, whereas if Western civilization should continue its downward course, it will spread ruin to every part of the planet; and its going will consume the very forces and ideas within its own tradition that might have given a start to its successor". (Mumford 1944)
4)      To guess what motivated Stafford Beer to express: "At the top is the spectacular advance of human misery. I estimate that more humans are enduring agony today than ever before.. I speak of starvation and epidemic; war and terrorism; deprivation, exploitation, and physical torture... Second is the collapse of the civilization which we have known in our lifetime. ..no one talks about the exploitation of either nature or indigenous people any more. They talk instead about 'sustainable development' --but there is not such thing. Not only can development not be sustained; even the existing fabric cannot be sustained any longer. ...we are governed by an oligarchy --by the few; it is an oligarchy of power greed, and terror. ...we are blind to this. ...none of the phenomena mentioned would be observed in its current and virulent form, if there were no powerful modern armaments... But no serious political platform anywhere has proposed to make the manufacture of armaments illegal. ...this manufacture is essential to the conduct of the existing world economy.   Without jumping to conspiracy theories, or citing the illegal activities which now constitute the world's biggest industry, we can at the least say that humankind now manages its own affairs with breathtaking incompetence"    (Stafford Beer Presidential Address WOCS Congress, New Delhi, 1993)

5)      To ponder optimistically facts and events because "... this has been a pretty horrible century (the 20th one), one of the worst centuries of human history in terms of humanly created disasters and catastrophes, ...some of the worst come from the peaks of western civilization. But in many other respects...if you look realistically over time, things are improving. Lots of things that were considered perfectly normal and natural say a century ago would be considered outlandishly outrageous today; nobody could even conceive of them... Things have really changed a lot. And we know how they've changed -not by sitting around and talking about it" [Noam Chomsky, Whose World Order. Speech September 1998)]

6)      To contribute explicitly to develop the scientific ideology proposed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy "...the overall fate of the world depends on the adoption by humanity of a new set of values, based on a general systems Weltanschauung. "We are seeking another basic outlook: the world as organization. This [outlook] would profoundly change the categories of our thinking and influence our practical attitudes. We must envision the biosphere as a whole ... with mutually reinforcing or mutually destructive interdependencies. [We need] a global system of mutually symbiotic societies, mapping new conditions into a flexible institutional structure and dealing with change through constructive reorganization." (quoted by Mark Davidson in Uncommon Sense 1983)]