“ARE U CIVILIZED?”
What does this mean when someone throws it on you? Does it mean “Are you educated? Don’t you have manners? Are you rich?” And I can keep adding questions here based on convenience.
The meaning of the term civilization has changed several times during different periods in history, and even today it is used in multiple ways. Etymologically, civil – means city, so more of an urban living culture with a high level of so called cultural and technological development, than compared to the nomadic unsettled life! But what is considered as civilized in one part of the globe may be considered completely as non-relevant or inappropriate in another region. Hence there could be million questions that can be attributed when someone asks “are you civilized?”
I just wanted to brief one of my recent travel experience to Miami via Dubai, which seriously raised a question “Are these people civilized?”. My flying episodes in Emirates airlines have always been pleasant. I enjoy good vegetarian food, courteous hostess and the aircraft itself is quite comfortable and decent. But this time with new outrageous security policies originating from the USA – Trump Land, the whole flying experience became a nightmare!
It started with the first bombshell – ” check in the laptops (flights originating from certain Middle Eastern countries)” What?? Check in? 18 hours of business travel and no laptop? What should a business traveler like me do? But it seems like the first time 36 hours away from my laptop 🙂 in my lifetime – jokes apart, I am not sure why mobile phones are allowed, when you can’t carry a kindle, laptop or an iPad !!!!
After a strenuous 16 hours of second leg flight, finally landed in the beautiful city of Fort Lauder-dale! We grabbed our bags in a hurry to stretch our legs and get some fresh air! But then the PA voiced – “apologies, as we have to do a complete scanning of each of the checked in baggage so please bear with the delay” fine another 10-15 mins seems ok! Then comes the next announcement please take your seats as it might take an hour or more!!! Huh?? An hour after landing, taxi, and getting the airbridge ready? Just as we disembarked and thought finally it’s over, our next nightmarish experience started. Immigration– the queue really brought me memories from classic world war movies where the refugees / immigrants would be checked for their documents, health conditions, and the look of those scared refugees. This was kind of the same, long queues, scared people, confused if they will be allowed to meet their loved ones or will be sent back? Another hour! And few questions and then given “good to enter” order!
The story again is, since people come from a specific land or religion, can they be treated like this? Just to remind you all, this happened in a place which claims to be socio economically advanced and highly civilized. Are we not jeopardizing human relationships by segregating them again! I am not sure, but just feel that all our hard work and profound knowledge which we have built over so many years is not taking us in the right path!
But how did it all start? When man had a nomadic life wandering in the deep forest and hunting animals for food, killed each other, no communications, no settlement – and did not have respect for other beings, be it human or animal, What made him to move to civilisation? I am not a historian to detail different civilizations, such as Egyptian, Chinese, Indus valley, Aegan etc…But, From barbarians to civilisation – the dynamic meaning of the word civilization coined at various periods of our history is my interest – ‘It is a measure of social development, culture and heritage, formation of society, development of science and industry, education’ etc.
But the strongest belief is farming was the first step towards civilization, yes also that is when humans started defining boundaries. I am sure that’s when the word “me” “mine” ” myself” all must have come into existence! And as we moved to next stages, my family, my farm, my village, my country, my religion, my caste and top it all “MY Money”.
Is it good to be civilized then???It raises a fundamental question in my mind, isn’t civilization dividing people based on color, creed, language, religion, socio- economy and development??
Lets understand the Civilization Process both on “material and Ethical Opinion”
- Farming civilization – Learning to grow food and domesticating animals
- Forming societies – Drawing lines and setting Boundaries learning the concept of measurement
- Establishing Kingdom – Focus on building structures/ art & craft, bronze age, own way of writing, Setting or creating a symbol for their societies, Like the Pyramids.( you can call branding)
- Saving the people & Kingdom – Learning to make Gun powder, paper, printing, alcohol, cannons etc.( expansion and protection)
- Developing Democracy & Senate – base for modern geometry, biology, physics and whatnot. Pythagoras, Archimedes, Socrates, Euclid, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the great… the history books are full of such names whose inventions, theories, beliefs and heroics have had a considerable influence on subsequent civilizations.( exploring everything and anything and finding answers)
- Modern Civilization – Modern Science furthers advanced technology, life expectancy rate increase, claims to be bring back the dead too with modern medicine, Materialistic, But on the other side a complete destruction of nature, polluting the environment and poisoning the bodies, and the reason for many new forms of diseases. ( knowledge explosion- upsell and cross sell)
Well we can keep adding the process, but the fall of all these civilizations has one common reason – proving the power of one over the other. This still continues…………… and we are in the red alert zone already!
Money, time, social pressure runs our life, it’s not the values and love we build! You are judged more by the car and house you have, less by the qualities you possess! Some people say that our lives are so much better than those of ancient people. It seems that we cannot fathom that people were happy in ancient times
AND I STRONGLY BELIEVE ITS TIME TO REDEFINE WHAT CIVILIZATION MEANS NOW?
HAPPINESS INDEX – Heard of this yardstick measurement before? Yes very few countries focus on this as their prime goal, and take all means to satisfy the conditions and build human values, I am surprised to know there is a ministry which constantly works and thinks about people happiness. Isn’t that marvelous?
Ancient people were attuned to nature—the green mountains, the blue water, flying birds, and white clouds. That was real happiness—deep, continuous, peace and comfort. Such happiness solidly nurtures one’s heart and body.
But modern people struggle painfully, stay busy, (And claim including me if I am idle, I will go crazy ??) and never enjoy the happiness of reaching the other side of the mountain. Many modern people have lost human virtue, including prudence, diligence, tolerance, peacefulness, and courtesy.
How many of you think, like me, the most advanced civilization is not on the number of Bullet trains running in the city, nor the space ships sent to outer world, or the GDP, but consider people s happiness as the prime. Some countries which Stay subtle without showing off much in the world news – to name few Denmark, Bhutan, Sikkim(India), Norway, Switzerland,Canada, But still emphasis on their people/tribe s happiness and welfare. Sadly, it’s not an extensive list.
But if the redefinition is not happening worldwide, we are setting the stage for the fall of our own advanced urban civilization.
Else let’s get back to our older civilizations and call ourselves as uncivilized and barbaric not because we are walking around in the forest and killing people/animals for food, now with all basic necessities met for life, we still kill each other & animals. Why? To prove our strength, religion, or to prove just that we are smarter & better and advanced in technology? So, we are no better than “Uncivilized Stone age“.
On the lighter note, We follow them in many other aspects as well – including the food
” THE PALEO DIET 🙂 “