Colloquial Rants and Reasoning: End Civilization as we know it Part 1
Words cannot express the enormous love I feel for Earth and all her inhabitants. I want it to be clear that I deeply want what’s best for us all. The world is filled with senseless suffering. The more I trace these tribulations, the clearer it is to me that civilization almost always lies at their root. I think civilization as we know it should end. Please don’t get me wrong. Please hear me out. I do not want people to suffer or die. In fact, I would like to argue that the vast majority of destruction, murder and premature death in the world are caused by civilization. This flies in the face of common perceptions I know, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
An ever increasing number of people are coming to the same conclusion; this raging, dog-eat-dog and anything else in its path monstrosity of an idea must be stopped. For those of you who agree with what little I have said so far, reading on will only solidify your view and perhaps offer some tidbits for your own arguments. This is my case against civilization as we know it for the dwindling majority who still sing its praises or at least believe in it. The piece will be in several parts, as it is a work in progress with no end in sight. There will be links at the bottom of each one to lead you to the next. I should also add that I am not an authority on much of anything; I am just another human being who started questioning my reality.
I guess I should begin with what people are led to believe civilization is.
Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Edition defines civilization as: “a relatively high level of cultural and technological development; specifically : the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained” Gotta love those written records. And I have no misgivings toward technological development (within reason) either. But we all know civilization is more than that.
Collins English Dictionary defines civilization as: “a human society that has highly developed material and spiritual resources and a complex cultural, political, and legal organization; an advanced state in social development”. I can’t speak for y’all, but I’m not feeling this “advanced state of social development”. “Spiritual resources”? What does that mean?
Anyway, Macmillan Dictionary defines civilization as: “the state of having developed an advanced culture and institutions”. Hmmm, there’s that “advanced” word again. Many indigenous the world over would beg to differ with the notion that civilization as we know it is more advanced than their own worldviews. But let us continue.
Maybe some antonyms will help explain civilization. Let’s see, barbarous, uncivilized, oafish, vulgar, unsophisticated, crude, and extremely cruel. Wow, these are dreadful words. Let’s check Wikipedia.
“The word civilization comes from the Latin civilis, meaning civil, related to the Latin civis, meaning citizen, and civitas, meaning city or city-state.
“In the sixth century, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian oversaw the consolidation of Roman civil law. The resulting collection is called the Corpus Juris Civilis. In the 11th century, professors at the University of Bologna, Western Europe's first university, rediscovered the Corpus Juris Civilis, and its influence began to be felt across Europe. In 1388, the word civil appeared in English meaning "of or related to citizens." In 1704, civilization was used to mean "a law which makes a criminal process into a civil case." Civilization was not used in its modern sense to mean "the opposite of barbarism"—as contrasted to civility, meaning politeness or civil virtue—until the second half of the 18th century.”
Hmmm, now we’re getting somewhere. The Romans referred to anyone who wasn’t a Roman as barbarian. All aspects of non-Roman culture were considered barbarous or barbarism. Isn’t it funny how the meanings of words change over time? It is widely known that Roman civilization was a warmongering, greedy and tyrannical juggernaut. They conquered a vast chunk of the known world at the time enslaving or murdering anyone who stood in their way. They seized control of and put a price on the resources that people needed to survive. Those who didn’t resist were assigned paid positions that served the empire with which they could pay to survive and pay the taxes they were forced to pay. Those who resisted were exiled, imprisoned, enslaved or murdered. The people the Romans encountered were not any more or less oafish or cruel than the average Roman. They were just not Romans. In many ways the Roman model of civilization is the same as the one we know today, which is one of many reasons I think it should end. While it can be argued that the Roman Empire lives on through the church and modern ideology, that is another story. Rome as it was historically known fell! It fell long and it fell hard. Shouldn’t we be distancing ourselves from this behavior?
Part 1 Hunger and Homelessness
I think civilization as we know it should end because according to theUnited Nations Food and Agriculture Organization or the FAO the world currently produces enough food for all 7 billion people in it to eat at least 2,720 kilocalories per person per day, but an estimated 925 million people are starving to death. Nearly 1 in 7 people on Earth are starving to death! FAO also reports that roughly 1 third of all this food, well over 1 billion tons of it is sent to rot in landfills! Well over half of this waste is generated by industrialized civilizations. Hunger Notes, a world hunger education service states that “Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger.” And “…the principal underlying cause of poverty and hunger is the ordinary operation of the economic and political systems in the world. Essentially control over resources and income is based on military, political and economic power…” Did you catch it? “…ordinary operation of the economic and political systems in the world”? What this says to me is civilization causes hunger and I see it. These people are not just hard luck cases; they are victims of a slow mass manslaughter. They have been sentenced to death for the crime of being uncivilized or ill adjusted to civilization.
This is not to say that this gross imbalance in distribution has necessarily served developed nations well. In addition to the developed world wasting more food than anyone else, apparently we consume more too. According to the World Health Organization, 2011, over one-third of the U.S. adult population is considered to be overweight; over 72 million American adults are considered to be medically obese. Furthermore, one and a half billion adults worldwide are overweight and 500 million are considered clinically obese. Psychologist Don H. Hockenbury states that, “An environment characterized by ample and easily obtainable high-fat, high-calorie, palatable food constitutes a high risk environment for obesity. As countries develop stable economies and food supplies, the prevalence of obesity rapidly escalates.” Health care costs directly attributable to obesity exceed $60 billion a year and annually 300,000 adult deaths are directly attributable to obesity in the United States alone. Civilization starves some while stuffing others to death!
I think civilization as we know it should end because according to U.S. government census figures, 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless and there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country. More often than not these homes are “owned” by banks that would sooner bulldoze them than play landlord to the unfortunate. As of 2005 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights estimated there were over 100 million homeless people worldwide. I know it’s an old statistic, but with all the world has been through as of late, I doubt it’s in decline.
Modern civilization causes and enables homelessness. Civilization has turned people into specialist. While every member of pre-colonized, nature based cultures were at least competent at every task necessary to their way of life, members of modern civilizations are usually only proficient in one or a handful. Think about it. Do you know how to make everything you own? This cumbersome association of specialists’ works fine for the sake of itself; if the school crossing guard gets hit by a truck and killed, a new one is hired and all is right with the machine again. But, how does it work for people?
If a specialist loses their job they can’t really take care of their selves or their families until they find another job. They must often resort to a finite amount of savings or severance, unskilled lower paying jobs, welfare or crime to survive. Civilization turns people into disposable specific components. Of course, many manage to re-purpose themselves and appease the establishment, but others don’t. The latter, of no use to civilization is discharged with no real knowledge or means. As long as you have the money to pay the house building specialist or a landlord it’s all good, but if you don’t you are just screwed.
In modern civilization you can’t just go build your own house. You must pay for property to build it on. You must pay to go to school to learn the “proper” way to design and build, have your own designs scrutinized, revised and rejected over and over or you have to buy approved designs. These “proper” houses must be built with approved materials and the less money you have the crappier your house will be. If you want electricity or plumbing in your house you must pay to be certified in these trades or hire specialists. Oh and you’re gonna want those utilities because you can’t carry home owners insurance without em. Oh and you must have home owners insurance. Oh and you must pay property tax. Oh and you have to cut your grass or pay a fine. Oh and you can’t just kill your grass or plant unapproved ground cover etc. etc. The establishment cites health and safety issues for these measures, but if civilization would rather see you on the streets than in an unapproved shelter, does it really care about your health or safety?
"An Underground Education." Randomhouse.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.randomhouse.com/book/195374/an-underground-education-by-richard-zacks/>.
Kawagley, Oscar. "A Yupiaq Worldview: A Pathway to Ecology and Spirit [Paperback]." Amazon.com: A Yupiaq Worldview: A Pathway to Ecology and Spirit (9781577663843): Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.amazon.com/Yupiaq-Worldview-Pathway-Ecology-Spirit/dp/1577663845>.
"The Original Affluent Society--Marshall Sahlins." The Original Affluent Society--Marshall Sahlins. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.primitivism.com/original-affluent.htm>.