|See Video 2 below (click to enlarge)|
Like the blind men around the elephant (describing what an elephant is, based on their particular location around the elephant), people express a concept of civilization from a particular location based on their experience.
For example, when asked what he thought about western civilization, Mahatma Gandhi replied that he thought it would be a good idea.
When anyone asked Arnold Toynbee about civilization, he saw it in terms of something with a capacity for perpetuity, but for some reason that potential perpetuity never manifested:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown."(A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee). Suicide is the "death of choice" for civilizations that Toynbee studied as a historian.
I see civilization as Toynbee did (What Do You Mean - World Civilization?, 2;
Confusing "Civilization" With "Species").
At least in the sense that civilization is capable of perpetuity beyond the lifetime of its biological makers, and that a civilization is also subject to extinction.
What I am focusing on is the factor that has been the single-most consistent behavioral characteristic of civilizations up to the present one.
As Toynbee pointed out, that single-most consistent behavioral characteristic of civilizations, up to the present one, is death by suicide.
The label "Industrial Civilization" refers to the revolution which began circa 1750 through circa 1850, when it began to morph into "Industrial Civilization II" (see Wikipedia).
Circa the second decade of the 20th Century, Industrial Civilization II began to morph into what I call our present incarnation of civilization: "Petroleum Civilization."
In the first two phases civilization was not addicted to petroleum nor was it said of them "Oil is the lifeblood of America's economy" as it is now (Petroleum Civilization: The Final Chapter (Confusing Life with Death), 2, 3).
The morph into Petroleum Civilization was inspired by the need to have "bigger, faster, and more destructive" weapons of mass destruction, along with a fear induced by the religious notion of Armageddon (The Universal Smedley - 2).
With Petroleum Civilization now facing extinction, the scientists of today realize that the "lifeblood" is actually "deathblood."
Thus, once again another civilization is facing another suicide (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) and/or mass-murder (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1).
A recent piece came out in Aeon concerning the "rise and fall" of historian Arnold Toynbee:
He was an expert in world civilisations who made the cover of Time magazine in 1947, praised for writing ‘the most provocative work of historical theory… since Karl Marx’s Capital’. But in September 1921, long before he was the most famous historian in the world, a young Englishman named Arnold Toynbee boarded the Orient Express in Constantinople, bound for London.(Humanist Among Machines). In reality, the life was taken out of the lifeblood of civilization by a transfusion to lifeless energies.
What are the humanities for at such moments, when we’re so sure of ourselves and our capacity to remake the world? Toynbee wrestled with this question for decades. He was as curious as anyone about the latest discoveries and innovations, but he rejected the notion that science could explain or improve everything. And his thoughtful criticism of technology reminds us that poets and historians, artists and scholars must be proud, vocal champions of the humanities as a moral project – especially at moments of breakneck scientific progress. Fluent in the language of crisis and decline, casting about for ways to defend ourselves, today’s humanists could use a little inspiration. We need our spines stiffened. Toynbee might be a man to do it.
In my opinion, that choice of death over life by those who had the power to do so, is the essence of each civilization that committed suicide (Oil-Qaeda & MOMCOM Conspire To Commit Depraved-Heart Murder).
Machines and their underlying technologies are not alive (The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine - 2) even though we are substantially composed of molecular machines (ibid).
To find perpetuity, a civilization must choose life over death and must, therefore, know the difference.
The current Petroleum Civilization is not capable of that.
It extols the "virtue" of Oil-Qaeda over the common good that proceeds from the life support systems where we are now (You Are Here).
The previous post in this series is here.
Video 1: A 1958 video showing catastrophe from climate change was forseen:
Video 2: A futuristic music video "With our eyes wide open" ...