|A Theory Of Civilization|
|(A Clarification Of Philosophy)|
|by Philip Atkinson (April 2004 )|
|The Concern of Philosophy|
Philosophy is defined in many dictionaries as the love of wisdom or knowledge, but wisdom is recognising right from wrong while knowledge is recognising truth from falsity; two very different concerns which belong to two separate institutions, religion and science.
|Philosophy Is The Study Of Understanding|
However to understand anything is to combine both wisdom and knowledge: so philosophy can be defined as the study of understanding; or the study of a particular understanding. This is confirmed by those sources of knowledge that describe philosophy as being about ultimate reality, for reality, ultimate or otherwise, can only be the perception of an understanding.
|Philosophy Is The Study Of Civilization|
As a civilization is an understanding then Philosophy can be considered the study of civilization, or the study of a particular civilization. And a theory of civilization must be philosophy.
|The Premise||The Theory|
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|1.||Understanding is the invoking by reason of a set of values (a morality) to recognise right from wrong , good from bad. |
|2.||The most crucial human value is the one formed first in infancy, which is the decision to be selfish or not. If the child is not taught to realise that there is something more important than their own private demands, they become selfish. But if they are taught there is something more important than themselves they become unselfish.
|3.||The condition of selfish or unselfishness of a citizen is decided by the experiences of infancy, which is when the foundations of understanding (morality) are established.|
|4.||Language is understanding.|
1. A civilization is the tangible creations of a communal understanding.
2. A communal understanding is the understanding formed by a group of people who share the same understanding. That is, they share the same morality inspired by similar experiences which obtains a shared language to express their shared understanding. This is confirmed by shared laws, manners, customs and traditions— which makes them a community.
3. Communal understanding is superior to individual understanding because it is not constrained by human anatomy but is practically unlimited in scope or duration.
4. The character, or personality, of a communal understanding is its culture.
5. The accumulated experiences of a communal understanding become the wisdom of the community.
6. A communal understanding reinforces itself by recording its wisdom through:
7. A communal understanding recreates itself by each generation imbuing their offspring with that understanding. A process that must first imbue the shared morality, then the accumulated wisdom of the communal understanding.
8. A communal understanding (community) exists in one of two modes; it is either waxing or waning.
9. The mode of a communal understanding (community) is a result of the majority mode of its citizens, who themselves exist in one of two separate modes. A citizen is either:
|i.||Unselfish and prepared to sacrifice private interest for the common good.|
|ii.||Selfish and prepared to sacrifice the common good for private interest.|
|10.||The community:||i.||Waxes (gains wisdom) when the majority are unselfish.|
|ii.||Wanes (loses wisdom) when the majority are selfish.|
11. The majority persecute the minority mode . The majority will always treat the minority as outcasts, forcing them to become isolated and alienated. In the vital mode the immoral (selfish) win social stigma, in the dissolute mode the moral (unselfish) are viewed as simpletons.
12. A community wanes when its citizens no longer imbue the founding morality into their off-spring (see the law of reverse civilization). This is because the majority of parents are either:
|i.||Selfish and so:|
|ii.||Unselfish but lacking the founding morality of the community because of a failure in their upbringing.|
13. A Class War marks the time when the community stops waxing and starts waning, for this is when the selfish become the majority and begin their rebellion against the restraints demanded by morality. This revolution wrests power from the traditional rulers and places it in the hands of the declared agents of the selfish majority.
13.1. Authority Reversed This is a reversal in the nature of authority which stops being the master, and starts being the servant, of its charges. Then government stops being guided by the wisdom supplied by tradition but starts being tyrannised by popular notions (democracy): replacing sensible, by irrational, rule.
13.2 Decline Ensues And from this moment the community enters an irreversible decline where it becomes progressively sillier and weaker (Senile) though officially there is no change. Under the influence of selfish citizens the restraints upon personal behaviour demanded by the founding morality are progressively discarded. Each successive generation becomes less restrained and more impatient of restraint so shedding more restraints. But as morality is the foundation of understanding, what is being shed is the understanding of the community, which is communal suicide. This is revealed by:
|i.||The Retreat From Reason — As understanding is founded upon morality which is being discarded by the community, the ability to think clearly is also being discarded.|
|ii.||The Disappearance Of Plain Sentiments—Short and simple expressions are the currency of clear thinking, so language must decay along with the understanding it reflects.|
|iii.||The Suppression Of Truth— Selfish citizens are not concerned with self-sacrifice but self-aggrandisement, so the demands of duty are ignored in the pursuit of private gain. As the aim of duty is public good, this is what suffers to supply profit to the selfish. Such behaviour can only be maintained by the cloak of deceit, which makes truth an anathema to the selfish.|
|iv.||Growth Of Incompetence— Competence and achievement require the effort of dutiful citizens, the widespread presence of selfish citizens must obtain widespread incompetence.|
|v.||The Embracing Of Delusion— Unrestrained by truth or reason, individuals (and their community) are unable to resist their fears and fancies which become the inspiration for widespread absurd beliefs.|
|vi.||The Shrinking From Resolute Action—Selfishness prevents the private sacrifice demanded to endure in the face of adversity, so preventing individuals and the community from showing determination and perseverance. This makes the whole community timid and unable to overcome difficulties.|
|vii.||The Exchange Of Justice For Tyranny—the courts stop upholding the notions of justice revealed by traditional morality, but start enforcing the irrational tyranny demanded by popular fad. This change is signalled by an explosion of legislation which reveals the transfer of public stigma from the immoral to the statute breaker: from the unmarried mother to the woman who smokes a cigarette in the office (2004).|
|viii.||The Bureaucracy Becomes A Parasite—as institutions of the community inevitably reflect the nature of their citizens and become self-serving and incompetent.|
|ix.||Corporations Become Dishonest—under the influence of the people promoted to manage them: the worst citizens.|
|x.||Anarchy Prevails—because an imbued sense of morality is what restrains citizens' immediate physical desires, allowing public harmony and cooperation: this is the essential cement of any group. Once it is discarded by the self-seekers, so is order.|
14. Communities Attempt To Dominate Each Other. A group of communities cannot create a collective intelligence because they do not share the same basic morality, which makes their different understandings incompatible. In attempting to assert its own beliefs each community will inevitably clash with the others, and the stronger community will dominate.
|14.1.||Once a community declines it is only a matter of time before it becomes to feeble to resist the demands of other communities who will overrun and extinguish the dissolving community.|
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