Wednesday 19th of June 2024

the hazards of civilisations...

Now that I have your attention with this picture above, lets be seriously serious for a moment... Our future is at stake! National geographic is quite specific about what defines civilisation, in the American language...



Characteristics of Civilization All civilizations have certain characteristics. These include: (1) large population centers; (2) monumental architecture and unique art styles; (3) shared communication strategies; (4) systems for administering territories; (5) a complex division of labor; and (6) the division of people into social and economic classes.

What is amazingly missing here in this glib classified analysis of civilisation by National Geographic — yet could be encompassed in "(3) shared communication strategies” — is the major invention of civilisation: MYTHS

Myths (ANY religious beliefs) gave four decided elements of the common management of human misunderstandings (searching for answers): meaning, purpose, community, and ritual. The diversity of such invention actually show the importance of the illusion — we call belief — in the creation of various civilisations.

These highly structure misunderstandings gave rise to the highly specialised professions of deceit — priests, diviners  Imams, gurus, fortune tellers, witches, druids, who fought each other to explain the whatever — to the construction of buildings for worship — churches, pyramids, burial mounds, temples — and to highly structured narratives, some recorded in books (bible, q’ran, religious scripts) and some orally transferred such as the myths of creation and re-creation in the Aboriginal Dreaming versions in Australia. This organised deceit is at the core of civilisations. 

We are still trying to deal with the European Enlightenment. The development of this major shift in understanding of the human condition has dispelled the myths, by proper analysis of our situation in evolution. From then on, the deceit has had to be replaced by a new reality-analysis: sciences. Many believers still fight the sciences from various angles of deceit.

As Gus has written in the next level of peace..., we have mostly run out of myths. Arnold Toynbee thought that civilisations declined when their leaders stopped "responding creatively, and civilisations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority."

So rose the values of "exceptionalism", of slogans such as "make America great again" and competition leading to wars...

But this myth reconstruction was “in the past”. Nowadays, myths seem to have been replaced by the multiplicity of really bogan mundane activity (see picture above)...

Our modern problem is that while ancient myths could be and were reinvented, tweaked and reinforced — think of the Nicaea “conference” of bishops designed to streamline the beliefs that were going to mould the Western thoughts — until the European Enlightenment started to bite into the illusion with, hushhush, science (or the study of reality).

I say the European Enlightenment, because it was principally in Europe that the philosophical awakening to the deceit took place, while in the greater part, the English Enlightenment was at the source of the creation of capitalism —which has acted like an ersatz-myth — in which everything has a price decided by the market of demand and supply plus 10 per cent for the lenders… I know this is a glib explanation of capitalism, but you should get the gist. Then came Darwin-the-evolutionist...

Since then, the “authorities” — the myth-guardians and the governments — in their various ways have tried to highjack the new knowledge —SCIENCES.

The Covid19 pandemic is a clear example of this. Governments that in the past would have dismissed the science of global warming, now go the full protection-hog using sciences, in regard to a few cases and a few deaths due to a virus, barely more dangerous than the common flu. 

Meanwhile, the myth-merchants are trying to reinvent themselves as they’ve lost traction on the narrative of civilisation.

Having lost their myths, can our civilisations learn to live with the reality of sciences? This is the question my dear Watson...

Gus Leonisky
Local myth-buster...

images of civilisation...

The picture at top may seem to be highly uncivilised but I chose it very carefully. I could have picked yet another picture of temples and churches to illustrate "civilisation", yet this one shows the complexity of life's civilised dynamics more than any others. To the left, two bulls are fighting for supremacy. In the middle, the "modern" concept of "my body is my temple" and to the right, a pod of dolphins swim TOGETHER in the same direction with one purpose: find some fish. This is a powerful image, taken by Gus, on the very flippant website of The New York Post, for which one picture a one million words.


A few pictures of civilisation:



From Pick of Punch



Roman ruins at the Forum, Rome


old loco

Old loco...



His is better than yours



More to come