Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Civilisation?

I do not understand what is so amazing about Civilisation, or at least what we perceive it to mean. Most people would consider countries such as the UK, USA, Europe, etc, to be called “civilised”. I don’t see how. For example, in England, many of our inhabitants I would not consider civilised by a long shot.

I have nothing against Civilisation in theory. A community of creatures, living alongside each other aiding one another when necessary, fine. But we do not do this. Our social structure is far from equal. It may be considered so by some short-sighted individuals but, by and large, I think most people recognise this to be true. However we measure social status, no-one is ever equal to anybody else. Wealth, obviously, is very important in this world, so measuring social status by this may seem sensical, but no-one is equal, save in theoretical communism (practical communism is doomed to failure, however, it’s a nice idea.). Power, this is clearly distributed in the world unevenly. Clearly dependant on what the Power is over, we all have different amounts of it none the less. Number of acquaintances clearly will vary dramatically, so this is out of the question. I cannot see what makes us all equal? Maybe human rights? No, wait, again I am mistaken. You would think that if you were attacked for no clear reason in the streets, punched for example, then you would have the right to sue for damages or something akin to that? Well I am sure some people do have this right. I think that if this happened to Tony Blair then, while many people may applaud that person, they would indeed be sued and punished. However, say I were to get punched by someone, completely unprovoked, and that person happened to be Asian, then no I would not have the right to sue them. Because then I would, you see, be being racist, and I believe that’s breaching my attacker’s human rights which are clearly more important than my own. (I do not consider myself a racist, however I dislike the way many ethnic groups will claim racism despite there not being any present and so again this is racism but against ‘white’ people.)

So, if we are not all equal, then how is this community fair. How does this make us civilised when a swarm of bees is not? Why must we eat with a knife and fork to be considered civilised when a pack of lions need not, yet clearly their community is as good as ours, possibly better as it is not complicated further by “unwritten laws”.

Maybe equality is not what makes us civilised. So what does? The lack of violence compared with that of the natural world. Oh no, wait a minute. I think humans are possibly the most violent creatures on the planet. Maybe it’s our intelligence? I’ve never been convinced about this argument for us being superior to animals. Is intelligence not just another attribute like strength? The Polar Bear has got its immense strength to survive. Humans have increased intelligence to survive, because let’s face it, if we had the intelligence of, say, apes, then we wouldn’t have got far. We would have frozen to death, or starved to death as we moved out of the forests and their fruit or been killed by other animals trying to survive. Intelligence is just another means to stop us from perishing. Maybe, the fact that we can build beautiful buildings and machinery and create wonderful works of art and song that makes us civilised. Personally, I’d rather look at a tree, or a waterfall than look at ‘stunning’ architecture or ‘brilliant’ paintings, or listen to the dawn chorus or the sound of a river than listen to most of the “music” we churn out. I think I’ve figured out what it is that makes us civilised creatures and animals uncivilised. It’s the fact we have a conscience. Yes, that must be it. A conscience clearly makes a difference with regards to making us civilised. Because, you see, the cheetahs that go out hunting on the Savannah feel no remorse for their prey after they kill them. But us humans, when we sit there in front of the television and eat our steak or sausages we feel really sorry for that poor creature that has been killed for our sustenance (no wait, we can of course survive without meat so in fact it’s not for our sustenance, it’s because it “tastes nice”.) And the bird that steals another bird’s nest, yes, they feel no remorse at all. But us humans, when we steal a car radio, or burgle someone’s house, or pickpocket someone or steal their car, we feel incredibly guilty for that, don’t we. And those humans who steal every other taxpayers money by cheating their benefits (that’s something I don’t understand, also. Why do people who are unemployed get money when they have lots of children. If they have lots of children then they should be able to cope financially and if they can’t then it’s their own fault and maybe the children should be adopted, but there we go.) they feel incredibly guilty as they swan from their council house to the local off-licence and spend it all on cheap beer before returning to their council house and sitting in front of their TVs with cable or Sky or both and eat their ready meal that’s been shoved into the oven for twenty minutes and then slapped onto a plate. And those animals that go around and wipe out vast numbers of their own species, no wait, my apologies, that’s us isn’t it. Never mind. Those animals that go and wipe out vast numbers of other species, oh dear, I’ve done it again, that’s us again. I should clearly concentrate more.

To conclude, why in the name of anything are we considered civilised when animals are not? If you can answer my question without the use of swearing or that odd language involving abbreviating everything as to make it illegible then I welcome them.

1 Comments:

At 9:32 pm, Blogger Lorian said...

I can see where you are coming from however, i feel you are generalising very much on what you have said, especially concerning people on benefits, as i am sure the people you have described do not represent the majority.

 

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