The following essay explores the concept of civilization. It is a short excerpt. If you want a custom essay written by a professional writer from scratch, you should place an order for essay writing.
Essay Civilization Sample
Civilization cannot be explained in terms of race or physical type. The conquering Mongols and Manchus are blood kin to the still primitive Siberian tribes. The Mayas of Yucatan and the Incas of Peru were kin to peoples who never rose above the average American level-a level which compares favorably with that of northern and central Europe of 1 A.D. Arabian civilization was far higher than European of the Middle Ages. For hundreds of years, China was the most civilized country in the world. After reading Marco Polo, turn to the magnificent era of the Grand Moguls of India. From every point of view, Akbar's fifty years' reign must be rated among the most glorious in all history; and Akbar himself was a descendant of the Mongol Tamerlane, one of the world's most brilliant and enlightened rulers.
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The fates do seem to conspire now and then to raise men, tribes, and nations aloft; but history abounds also with the falls of men, tribes, and nations that depended on their luck to keep them aloft. Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world today, but it is being worn down by wind and ice. Will it be the highest peak a million years hence? There were hundreds of high peaks in the Alleghenies hundreds of millions of years before the Himalayas were born. What of it? Nothing; certainly nothing that we can do anything about. We can, however, get a better understanding of civilization if we stop assuming that our mind is better than was our Cave ancestors', or that theirs was better than their cousins' who stayed behind in Asia or wandered off to Tasmania or Manhattan Island. The common assumption that primitive cultures are set in castiron molds is not justified. Their simplicity only seems so to our ignorance. They are in truth enormously complex, and, psychologically speaking, as rich, full, and complete as ours. There is something doing all the time. These cultures inevitably change.
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Culture is human history writ large; it is a historical science. Psychology supplies the reasons for individual cultural behavior, but it can never replace the necessity of looking at cultural phenomena from a historical point of view. These psychological "reasons," may we remind ourselves again, are legion. Roughly, they are our emotional slants, passions, appetites, tastes, prejudices, aspirations, wants, dislikes fears; our manual habits and our kinesthetic organization; our verbalized habits, implicit and explicit, thinking and speaking; and the infinite permutations of all these factors.
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