Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Story of Civiliation
May 15, 2012 | GeronL

Posted on 05/15/2012 4:08:34 PM PDT by GeronL

I am going to take a stab at describing how morality might have evolved. I am trying to aim this at atheistis and others so I tried to refrain from using any religious frame of reference. What separates us from the animals?

So try not to be offended.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: atheistis; civiliation
The Story of Civilization

In the beginning humans were just another animal. They were no different than any other beast of the forest. They had no deep thoughts, they had no higher skills than a wolf or an otter. They hunted for food, sometimes hunting each other, killing another of their own kind didn't mean anything. They ate whatever was at hand, they killed for food and grouped together and killed for security like wolves, they mated with whatever they could catch.

Somewhere along the line humans developed the ability to understand the idea of cause and effect, and from there they learned to predict. If they did this, then that would occur. Just a very basic version of it at first. If we did not kill or eat the baby it would grow up to be another hunter or another child bearer, this was useful knowledge.

They were able to predict that certain animals would have their own young at certain times of the year, that herds of animals migrated on certain routes and in certain seasons. The seasons themselves were predictable. They soon shared this information with future generations by painting them on the walls of caves.

Someday one or more of these primitive humans noticed that certain activities impacted the human condition in negative ways. They decided to pressure others not to do these 'bad' things. They realized that some behaviors were more productive than others and they began to pressure others to do these 'good' things.

They soon realized that human nature was still animalistic, the default setting was not good but bad, and all of their efforts to improve the human condition would have to come in opposition to this basic human nature. Today the religious might call this the “sin nature”. This sin nature inside all of us might be what we call the devil, or Satan.

If humans had never tried to fight this nature of the beast they would never have become civilized. We look back from today and we say that this dictator or that warlord was uncivilized, but go back farther and all humans were much less civilized. We see the Holocaust or the Killings Fields as uncivilized by our modern standards because of how far we have come in fighting our basic human nature.

Every step on the ladder of civilization has raised our expectations of the future. Might we someday truly conquer crime and poverty? Shouldn't we continue to try? Those are civilized thoughts, we want to make the human condition better than it is. Some of us.

Today, though, the forces of regression have become quite strong. They chisel at the very foundations of civilization, they tie dynamite around the planks that keep it above water. Certainly many of them are not intentionally trying to bring down civilization itself, they just want to give away to their own lusts or ideas and then they want it normalized for everyone. The result is the same thing, a return to primitive barbarism or even to animalism.

If one percent of the population is homosexual, that would not impact humankind to a great degree but when governments and powerful forces encourage it, normalize it and praise it, then it becomes a force against civilization. It is the same with child sex, crimes, idleness (welfare). When a tiny portion of humans are doing it, there is no real problem. When culture or government encourage these things they come to do a great deal of harm to civilization.

1 posted on 05/15/2012 4:08:39 PM PDT by GeronL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Morgana; wagglebee; little jeremiah; null and void; Lazamataz

Just a stab at it. Call it a rough draft that was written as stream of consciousness.


2 posted on 05/15/2012 4:10:04 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
If you want to put it on their level, explain that societies that exhibited what we call 'moral behavior' survived, and those that didn't, didn't. Which is true in a way. You sure can't book a flight to the original Sodom today, they didn't survive.

/johnny

3 posted on 05/15/2012 4:13:02 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

You left out the important parts: the singing monolith, the invention of beer, discovery of iron, and the Conan vs the Lawyers paradigm.


4 posted on 05/15/2012 4:15:23 PM PDT by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyrannis)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
Civilization is a compromise between two extremes: absolute individualism and absolute collectivism. Too much of the former and you have anarchy; the society is weaker because you lose the economies of scale and the "multiplier effect" of groups working in unison. Too much of the latter and you have socialism, which punishes the productive and rewards those who weaken society; ultimately, even the productive give up and the society crumbles because no one is willing to work at all.

Capitalism -- the free market -- is the best compromise. It allows the individual to earn to his maximum potential and his survival is measured by his value to the collective. So it takes the best of both worlds while discarding the worst.

5 posted on 05/15/2012 4:29:32 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

“they mated with whatever they could catch”

Could be a little rough if they caught a sabre tooth tiger that day....


6 posted on 05/15/2012 4:32:01 PM PDT by dynachrome ("Our forefathers didn't bury their guns. They buried those that tried to take them.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Bryanw92
the invention of beer,

Most important. And you know it wasn't a liberal that invented it, because it's too much work for a liberal.

/johnny

7 posted on 05/15/2012 4:32:37 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

That is a good point.


8 posted on 05/15/2012 4:38:30 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: IronJack

I think this is how morality might have “evolved”. Those things that benefitted humankind were seen as ‘moral’ and those than hurt mankind were ‘immoral’.

As I said, our nature is immoral. Fighting that basic nature is what brings civilization. Civilized in moral terms. Civilization in technological/physical terms is exactly as how you described.


9 posted on 05/15/2012 4:41:33 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

“that certain activities impacted the human condition in negative ways”

Here is the gap in your logic: the introduction of the notion of “the human condition.”

Why would the animal-man, under the analysis you describe, change his concern from being focused on his own survival and comfort to that of “the human condition” generally?

The answer is he wouldn’t.

Furthermore, there is an unstated and unjustified premise in your reference to “the human condition” and the “improvement” of the human condition, namely that there could be a common understanding of what “improving the human condition” means.

There isn’t. Nazis might believe it would “improve the human condition” to kill all the Jews.

Muslims might believe it would “improve the human condition” to kill all the infidels.

The same unstated and unexamined assumption is at work in your use of the term “civilization.”

Again, muslims might consider it a higher form of “civilization” if all the infidels were dead or slaves.

In point of fact, I would argue that your logic, by referencing ideas such as “improving the human condition” and “civilization” implicitly rests on the Judeo-Christian absolute (and not relative) claim that all human life has value because it was created in the image of God.

If one discards the Judeo-Christian idea that all human life has value, then from the point of view of one individual, “improving the human condition” and advancing “civilization” might mean wiping out all the other humans on earth except for that individual’s clan group, in order to have more of nature’s bounty to themselves.

Both Kant and Nietzche recognized that there can be no absolute claim to morality without the conception of God.

“Without revelation, the people perish” - Proverbs 29:18


10 posted on 05/15/2012 4:44:35 PM PDT by Meet the New Boss
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Meet the New Boss

I totally agree.

Like I said this is a rough draft, and totally incomplete.


11 posted on 05/15/2012 4:47:34 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: dynachrome
Could be a little rough if they caught a sabre tooth tiger that day....

Couldn't be worse than my second ex-wife.

/johnny

12 posted on 05/15/2012 4:48:11 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
When culture or government encourage these things they come to do a great deal of harm to civilization.

Very good job, GeronL.

When anti-truth, anti-freedom, anti-life collectives infest any civilization from inside or outside, plunder and death result. Our task at hand as civilized people, is to identify these collectives and to rid them from the body politic and our lives.

I do not think that illegal plunder, such as theft or swindling — which the penal code defines, anticipates, and punishes — can be called socialism. It is not this kind of plunder that systematically threatens the foundations of society. - Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850

truth - freedom - life

live - free - republic

13 posted on 05/15/2012 4:50:50 PM PDT by PGalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

I should add in as well a reference to the environmental wackos of our day.

Some of them believe it would advance the human condition and be a higher form of civilization if we all went back to living in caves and foraging for our food, so as to reduce our “carbon footprint.”


14 posted on 05/15/2012 4:55:04 PM PDT by Meet the New Boss
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Meet the New Boss

okay already.

“human condition” is out.

I get it.


15 posted on 05/15/2012 4:58:38 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper; Bryanw92; GeronL
Discovery Channel -> 3 part series -> "How Beer Saved the World"

Most Excellent series. Highly recommended.
16 posted on 05/15/2012 4:58:52 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Meet the New Boss

lol


17 posted on 05/15/2012 4:59:05 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Can you condense it a bit, todays readers have a short attention span, you know. Say maybe thirty words or less?


18 posted on 05/15/2012 5:02:49 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Meet the New Boss; GeronL

“...to reduce our “carbon footprint.”

It is no coincidence that “civilization” (farming, communities, etc.) happened soon after the last ice age.


19 posted on 05/15/2012 5:09:19 PM PDT by 21twelve
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
People are commonly under the impression that the disagreement between atheistic evolutionism on the one hand and Judeo-Christianity on the other hand concerning the nature of mankind, morality and so forth arose following Darwin. In fact, it is quite old.

In the early 400s A.D., Augustine of Hippo asked a scholar, Paulus Orosius, to summarize what historians of that day claimed, in order to argue against the pagans.

Orosius wrote: "Indeed, these historians with their very limited insight would have us believe that the origin of the world and the creation of man was without beginning... as if forsooth the human race had existed up to that time in the manner of beasts and then, as though shaken and aroused, it awoke for the first time to a wisdom previously unknown to it."

20 posted on 05/15/2012 5:16:57 PM PDT by Meet the New Boss
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

right. That is pretty short. A twitter post maybe.


21 posted on 05/15/2012 5:21:20 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Meet the New Boss

I am getting a lot of good ideas and feedback, thanks guys. This is like FR is supposed to be.

No anarchists arguing in favor of dumping civilization?


22 posted on 05/15/2012 5:24:21 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Meet the New Boss

I am getting a lot of good ideas and feedback, thanks guys. This is like FR is supposed to be.

No anarchists arguing in favor of dumping civilization?


23 posted on 05/15/2012 5:24:29 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
Like I said this is a rough draft, and totally incomplete.

Is that the same as completely incomplete?

24 posted on 05/15/2012 5:25:50 PM PDT by Misterioso (I voted Republican all my life and all I got was a communist for president.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

so I tried to refrain from using any religious frame of reference.


why?


25 posted on 05/15/2012 5:26:34 PM PDT by PeterPrinciple (Lord, save me from some conservatives, they don't understand history any better than liberals.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

How about two words or less.


26 posted on 05/15/2012 5:27:27 PM PDT by Misterioso (I voted Republican all my life and all I got was a communist for president.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: PeterPrinciple

I want to write it in a way to convince the Godless that we have a point when it comes to morality.


27 posted on 05/15/2012 5:33:48 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Misterioso

Like my three word biography: born, lived, died.


28 posted on 05/15/2012 5:35:16 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Just having a bit of a go at you. If you haven’t seen it the t.v. series “Connections” by James Burke is well worth the watching.


29 posted on 05/15/2012 5:45:37 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
No anarchists arguing in favor of dumping civilization?

I'm good with disbanding the Federal Government and re-instituting an Articles of Confederation with no taxation authority. But that's as far down that path as I go.

My state is larger than most in Europe, and I'm fairly sure we can govern ourselves without DC Nannies.

/johnny

30 posted on 05/15/2012 5:45:39 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

I think I have seen that before


31 posted on 05/15/2012 5:48:11 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Tainan
Haven't seen it. Got it in the queue for 'watch soonest'

I am familiar with the theory. I was a studious student, and during culinary school, I spent a lot of time on history of food. That included visiting a real school and talking to archeologists/etc... about food origins, etc... Made much easier with meals that I was learning to cook in school.

There was some controversy over whether bread lead to beer or beer lead to bread.

One evening, I led some doc-candidates and post-docs in a beer-making/breadmaking exersize.

Amazing what a little bit of real world experience does to theories.

/johnny

32 posted on 05/15/2012 5:59:09 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

“We see the Holocaust or the Killings Fields as uncivilized by our modern standards because of how far we have come in fighting our basic human nature.”

The holocaust and the killing fields were just yesterday... or more to scale, ten minutes ago! You think atrocities are not happening today or won’t happen tomorrow?

The struggle was, is and will forever be between the tyrant and the people. And the tyrant won’t always be dressed as a hitler. He’ll camouflage himself in many different ways to get power over the masses. The fashion of today is “big brother” or Nanny, as in “nanny state”.


33 posted on 05/15/2012 6:02:17 PM PDT by aquila48
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: GeronL; wagglebee; little jeremiah; null and void; Lazamataz

“Just a stab at it”

I’ll let Laz take a stab at it. He’s a better writer.


34 posted on 05/15/2012 6:43:14 PM PDT by Morgana (I only come here to see what happens next. It normally does.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Tainan
I want to thank you publically for the recommended series. I just watched it.

Wonderful. And I couldn't find anything incorrect about it.

God does love us, and wants us to be happy.

/johnny

35 posted on 05/15/2012 7:11:06 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

The Roman Empire managed to last over 1300 years. They weren’t what you or I would call a moral people. How do you explain their longevity?


36 posted on 05/15/2012 7:13:08 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Morgana; Lazamataz
Best I can tell, Laz bought his writing skills at a government surplus sale.

Sometimes they are really, really good.

/johnny

37 posted on 05/15/2012 7:14:02 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

That flick is awesome. Be did indeed save civilization.

Cheers!


38 posted on 05/15/2012 7:15:34 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Lurker
Most were moral people. Don't let the excesses that are the highlights of historical documentation make you think most folks didn't work and care for their families and pay their taxes.

And I don't get 1300 years.... Say you go with the earliest date after the Roman Republic.... when Julius Caesar became dictator (44 BC) to when Romulus Augustus abdicated... that's far short of 1300 years.

I could be wrong, because we didn't spend a lot of time on that in culinary school.

/johnny

39 posted on 05/15/2012 7:22:08 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

You forgot the Eastern Roman empire crownd by the reign of Constantine. Rome didn’t fall in 44 bc, contrary to popular belief. In fact while Rome itself fell, the Empire simply moved east and lasted another 700 years or so.


40 posted on 05/15/2012 7:26:04 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Lurker
The Roman Republic fell in 44 BC. The earstwhile 'Empire' moved to Constantinople around 480 AD or so.

So either way, the 'Empire' didn't last 1300 years.

And to answer your original question. I would say that the Roman Republic fell when it's people and leaders were no longer moral.

Many things that the Roman Republic started are still with us, though, and considered moral behavior.

/johnny

41 posted on 05/15/2012 7:35:12 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Thought: Morality based on what the human leader says may be good, but too often justifies his base interests (Islam’s changing views on adoption as family once Mohammed lusts for his adopted son’s wife). Morality based on a supreme power has greater backing, and you can’t disobey it when no one is watching because God always is.


42 posted on 05/15/2012 7:49:06 PM PDT by tbw2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: tbw2

Much of Christian(/Jewish)-type morality coincides with “natural law” for a very good reason I think. They knew for a long time the things that were detrimental and things that were positive. Codifying it into a single “law” probably took centuries/millenia of hard work by the Old Testament guys.

and it looks like all it takes to break down 6,000 years of progress is a few decades.


43 posted on 05/15/2012 7:56:04 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Curiously, you have stumbled on a topic near to what I was considering next.


44 posted on 05/15/2012 8:02:11 PM PDT by Lazamataz (The so-called 'mainstream' media has gone from "biased" straight to "utterly surreal".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

It still needs a lot of work though.


45 posted on 05/15/2012 8:07:38 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper
You are most welcome.
I stumbled upon on it and also found it to be excellent.
46 posted on 05/15/2012 11:56:00 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

I think Man has a dual nature: the same creature that is capable of great cruelty is also capable of great mercy. Hitler was the author of unimaginable horrors. Yet he passed laws making it a crime to abuse a dog.

You’re right insofar as you define civilization as the triumph of our better natures over our lesser. The irony is that we must periodically revert to the latter to defend the fruits of the former. So we can never truly be free of our inner brute. That is the burden we carry as mere humans, who can only dream of being gods.

Unless you’re Barack Obama ...


47 posted on 05/16/2012 5:12:03 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Someone said that you can’t take the “cult” out of culture. We organize our actions based upon our hopes and beliefs and as creatures with language we group based upon those hopes that are shared and our families.


48 posted on 05/16/2012 5:28:12 AM PDT by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
I want to write it in a way to convince the Godless that we have a point when it comes to morality.

You want to point the godless to morality without pointing to God, don't think it can be done.............. The godless think Christianity is the source of evil. Man is basically good and it is Christianity that stops them from reaching self actualization (Maslows Hierarchy of needs). I would encourage you to study the truth project from Focus on the Family.
49 posted on 05/17/2012 8:39:48 AM PDT by PeterPrinciple (Lord, save me from some conservatives, they don't understand history any better than liberals.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson