Civilization and Complex Institutions
“Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities. ” – Mark Twain.
Civilization is the most highly developed phase of human social development and organization. Over thousands of years historians have come to the conclusion of minimums of being a civilization instead of only being a society. The five criteria of a civilization are advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology.
The standard high-school criteria are used for analyzing every society to conclude if it is a civilization or not. There is controversy whether connection to a world system should be an addition to the criteria or whether civilization is even a valid concept. The perception of civilization has dated back thousands of years concluding that civilization is a valid concept because it helps categorize alike nations. The high-school criteria are suitable principles of civilization and should not be changed.
Connection to a world system shouldn’t be added to the criteria because of the redundant contribution to society. The five standards a civilization needs to endure are advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology. These 5 criteria are the exact definition of civilization, each principle balances the other. Without these 5 things a civilization would crumble immediately. Cities are the birthplaces or the uprising of the first civilizations.
A city is a large group of different people with different cultures. Cities are a center for trade, allowing the city to grow and advance in a structured location. Another standard of civilization are specialized workers. Specialized labor came from the Agricultural revolution, when humans settled in one place and grew their own food. This caused a surplus of food allowing others to do other jobs which cultivated their culture and society. Without specialized workers societies would survive by hunting and gathering.
Complex institutions were started in ancient Egypt. Examples of complex institutions are government, economy, tax systems and law. These types of institutions are used to stabilize the civilization so it won’t fall. Another standard is record keeping. As civilizations became intricate they needed to keep track of everything. Without record keeping we wouldn’t know anything about our past and would make the same faults as our ancestors. Finally the last criteria are advanced technology. Advanced technologies are tools to help improve the civilization.
Without tools our ancestors wouldn’t be able to create the simple tools of survival ending humanity all together. With these 5 criteria of being civilization humanity has been able to develop to the different cultures there are today. Civilization is a compelling perception although it has many definitions. Submitting to human society in its entirety is a civilization. The Greek Empire separated them from anyone else who don’t speak Greek. They called the outsiders barbarians or the uncivilized. Another empire that labeled other communities was the Roman Empire.
They labeled themselves as a society with its own set of distinctive qualities from other civilizations. The word civilization is an expression utilized to portray societies that have advanced farther than other communities such as Paleolithic life of hunting and gathering. Connection to a world system is not needed to make a successful civilization. Connecting with the outside world doesn’t compose the civilization; it only shapes the society within. It merely advances the civilization further to a modern age such as trade and religion.
Trade improves advanced technology and culture. For example the Silk Road was a major trade route. The religious and artistic changes our culture has accustomed today came from the Silk Road. It also changed social acceptance and amplifies social interaction with other cultures. These different cultures whose beliefs and cultures help open new and different cultures from one’s own culture, and unlocked wealth and opportunities. The Silk Road was essential to day by day life in route-side settlements. Trade is a key part of civilization but is not needed to survive.
An example of a civilization that lived without connection to a world system was Feudal Japan. Feudal Japan was a very private civilization with very little trade decreasing the advancement in technology and weapons. But even without the modern technology from the outside world, Feudal Japan was a successful civilization. So a civilization does not require connection to a world system to survive. In conclusion, civilization is a valid concept because it helps organize areas based on similar culture and technology in an area.
Since the five criteria are suitable principles it should not be changed or added to. Connection to the world system should not be a supplementary standard of the criteria of civilization because of its less important contribution to society. Civilization is the state of advanced culture including advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology. “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a teamwork, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. ” – Vince Lombardi