Thursday, 20 July 2017
The end of civilization.
The end of civilization.
Someone once asked Mahatma Gandhi whilst he was visiting the UK, “Mr Gandhi, what do you think of western civilization?”
His response is something that has stayed with me for a very long time. “It would be a good idea” he replied.
Now far be it for me to disagree with anything the man said, he was a sage, a very astute and wise man. He is notably the one by who’s tenet “be the change you wish to see in the world” I attempt to live. But recently I have been struggling to come to terms with an idea that has bothered me my whole life. What about human beings is truly civilized?
Maybe this was the entire reason for his comment and the way that he had come to understand the way the British Empire ruled the world. Anything but civilized.
I think that maybe we should start with a current dictionary explanation of the word.
1. variable noun
A civilization is a human society with its own social organization and culture.
The ancient civilizations of Central and Latin America were founded upon corn.
It seemed to him that western civilization was in grave economic and cultural danger.
2. uncountable noun
Civilization is the state of having an advanced level of social organization and a comfortable way of life.
...our advanced state of civilisation.
3. uncountable noun
You can refer to a place where you can enjoy the comforts that you consider to be necessary as civilization.
...when I returned to civilization.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers
civilization in British
or civilisation (ˌsɪvɪlaɪˈzeɪʃən )
a human society that has highlydeveloped material and spiritualresources and a complexcultural, political, and legalorganization; an advanced state in social development
the process of bringing or achieving civilization
Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers
So from this point like me I guess you would understand that what we are in the main is not particularly true to the definition of being civilized. If we take point 5 for example, are we morally refined when we resort to the levels of bloodshed that we reek across the globe.
I often see the milk of human kindness flowing of course, and to me I have been favoured innumerably by so many people. But on the whole are we not missing the point of civilization in actually being trapped in the dichotomy of living to work or working to live, believing it is our duty to go to work, give our labour (an ever increasing number of hours) for the sustenance of life? And getting frustrated when the hours we work actually produce less of the things we needed for our well-being and soundness of mind and body.
On top of this we seem collectively in some sort of denial about the way our cravings for this civilization and the trappings it gives us are destroying the actual ecosystem that we need to survive and live. A collective ecocide, fuelled by psychosis to the cause and effect we unleashed many years ago. I wonder will we ever really wake up and see where this is going, or will we let ourselves become extinct. We say we care but do we really when everything we do is controlled largely by the maxim ‘growth’ of the x the y and the z? How many people go to bed at nights with almost no food in their bellies when others throw away so much? How many people care that over 200 species become extinct each and every day since quite a long time ago?
Who amongst us realises what is in store if we don’t accept that we are simply an integral part of the environment and not masters of the universe, as we have been telling ourselves for way too long. The narratives of the whole history of mankind all seem to have led us to this conclusion without any proof. All we have got to go on is a hunch, based no doubt on the premise that as we are apparently intelligent, that we can dominate for our needs the whole planet and all other creatures.
Is it not as Gandhi said? “There is enough for man’s need, not for his greed”.
How long will we feel it appropriate to go on murdering one another, killing animals and abusing the natural resources of the earth as if they will last forever, before we act to stop this madness? Is it not an act of madness to carry on doing what is proven to be harmful to life on earth? All life that is!
So many researchers have discovered an abundance of evidence that what human beings have done, largely since the industrial revolution has set us on a path to annihilation of our species. Think about it logically and rationally. You have a pie, and you eat all of it, is there any left over for tomorrow? With no resources we cannot make more pie. If we destroy the life giving systems that support all life on earth how will we survive? Would moving to another planet and colonising that be a real solution? Wouldn’t that just mean all the dumb creatures that caused this outcome save themselves for a brief moment of history? We are not likely to become altruistic at a time like that, if you have seen films like 2012.
I know this is hard to hear, and I empathise with you on that, but I am sure we do not have the luxury of time on our side anymore.
Severn Cullis Suzuki stood in the general assembly of the United Nations as a twelve year old girl and spoke for six minutes in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit. Sadly not to the entire assembly, but what she had to say then, over 25 years ago is still not being listened to. The Paris Climate agreement has been abandoned by some of the largest negative contributors on the planet in recent months because of what, a lack of evidence of the impending disaster? No, it is because of sheer greed and unwillingness to act with due haste and conviction.
Again I know this may be hard to hear or accept, or even entertain for a brief diligent examination of the reality, but civilization is what has brought us this. An actual belief that we can govern and manage ourselves and the environment effectively, without deficit.
Let’s be frank, we cannot. If we were able to, surely we would have conquered so much more of the deliberate cruelty and destruction we have forced upon the people and the planet with its’ once incredible diversity. We would not be allowing anyone, least of all, the all for profit corporations to dominate the decision making. We would be in control of outcomes, not out of control trying to plug the leaking of Fukushimas’ nuclear radioactive fluids into our oceans, which in six years has covered an estimated third of the planets ocean water.
And have we learned from this fated ideology? Yes of course, some countries are closing down the nuclear energy provision of consumer electricity in favour of something much safer and renewable. But not as many countries as would show that we are not psychotically entrenched in the past and devastating practices.
We as a world spend almost a third of our governments budgets on weapons and defence, and by comparison very little for the preservation of life on this planet. Does that seem like money well spent?
Sadly many people buy into this ideology because it fits with the world view they have, despite their not knowing largely how that came to be. Few see how we have been duped into supporting a crass and debased societal world view, which promotes ignorance for the masses and servitude for all except a few elite people who control so much of the wealth. It’s not simply rich people against the poor, it’s like Frankensteins’ monster, it cannot be stopped. A behemoth of ‘progress’ that serves the machine not the subjects and consumes all casualties in its’ path because profit is the goal, not service of the people.
So of course you’re expecting me to have some sort of critique on the way to steer away from this, possibly a well-researched and proactive answer, a definitive solution, and a way to save the world.
Well I don’t.
What I potentially have is what many others are investigating around the globe at this time. A small hope that becoming Uncivilized will bring us to the solution we seek. A way to be in the world that does not harm anyone or anything irrevocably, and a way to let life be what it is, the experience of ‘being’. We are after all human beings, so ask yourselves what that might actually mean.
Intentional communities have been attempting to put this into practice for a very long time, and having elements of success along with the failures. But what is learning if it is not coupled with examining the good and the bad, the negative and the positive? I feel sure that if communities worked in smaller units they could succeed in ways that towns and large cities simply cannot. When the control over the community is centralised and not the direct responsibility of the participants much is simply overlooked and mismanaged. To have central governments making all the decisions surely takes away from people the ability to be self-aware and responsible. Cooperative living is a far more proactive way to engage each person in the welfare and well-being of the community. Of course with the way we have gone and what has been made we may still need a system of overall management for the interim period of transition, to keep certain services going. But what have we put in place already for when the civilization collapses as it inevitably will? The national government have put nothing in place, no back up plan. And certainly nothing that would not promote more suffering and hardship for the poorest and most vulnerable of our society. This is what their austerity does, and as we see it serves only those that seek dominance over others, not the welfare of everyone. If they have anything in reserve as a plan it is likely to be keeping themselves safe from the general public when they take for themselves whatever they need to survive whilst others die of starvation and unpreparedness.
It is not as bleak as it would be if we had not been warned though. With a small effort people could actually begin right now the work of preparing for a world that is sharing and caring. The act of civilisation would be surely to educate each person as to how to think for themselves and not simply be autonomons to rules and regulations. I see that this has always been the controlling method of others, to deny them, even actively avoid their being served by knowledge and understanding so that they cannot think for themselves easily. Empires were ruled by such knowledge of how to control, and this is certainly a large factor in the impending demise of this corrupt and unjust capitalist/corporate plutocracy.
Civilization is at its end, and we need to replace it with something far more effective and rational. It would be good if people were open and prepared to discuss the heavy topics that this idea presents. I am convinced we need to do something better, something more equitable and definitely something that demonstrates LOVE as our currency of exchange.
Please be kind to one another, the most definitive display of a united hope for the human race and its’ continuance. Anything else is well, simply not worth considering……
Love and peace.
(Disclaimer: I am not saying we ought not be civilized, we should actually adhere to that idea as a baseline. BUT our actions need to reflect that, not what we are currently doing in the name of civilization. Which is a false testament to that ideology.)