Allan Takes Aim Blog

Is Civilisation a myth?

Posted on: 12 July 2009


In what way is civilisation measured? Indeed is there such a thing a civilisation? If there is, is it measured by accrued knowledge or the artefacts society gathers around itself as it trundles from birth to death? I am inclined to think it a combination of both.

That said, many people take the view that western civilisation is the only real civilisation. But is it? I think not. In my view western civilisation is only one many civilisations and that, slowly, these disparate civilisations will merge and become a global civilisation with common laws in which the same moral and society values will obtain.

As I have grown older I’ve noticed also that those who lay the greatest claim to being civilised are usually in positions of power or teaching in a University, an institution often called a seat of learning.

However as I look at the behaviour and dress style of some university students and teaching staff I’ve come to the conclusion that, rather than seats of learning, Universities are really the command headquarters of modern barbarian armies.  The only difference: the barbarian armies of the past were better disciplined.

Take the dress style of many University students and teachers today. If Attilla’s army of Huns had ever been faced with an opposing army who in hair-style, dress and make-up were like many in today’s academe, the probability is, they would have turned tail and fled and in doing so would have altered the course of history forever.

It has to be said that unlike the objectives of some in academe (in some cases teaching and learning don’t seem to be among them) you couldn’t mistake the objectives of Attilla and his Huns. Rape and pillage was the order of the day. Indeed they looked down on people who didn’t share their view. As far as they were concerned they saw themselves as an elite who were literate, couth and civilised.

Which brings me back to universities and university students and also goes to show the truth of the old saying: if you don’t heed history it’s likely to repeat itself.

A momentary digression: This barbarian sense of elite is not confined to academe: look around and you’ll see what I mean. Society today has more elites than you can poke a stick at. A few examples: business, cultural, environmental, political, social, scientific, sporting and technological elites. In fact I think the time is coming when we ordinary mortals might need to look at forming ourselves into an elite.

Digression over, let me return to my theme and say I reached my conclusion that academe is father of the barbarians after reading up on history and taking into consideration that history is not always a true account of past events.

 This is only to be expected because, with rare exceptions, history is written for the purpose of reflecting a particular view usually that of people who won battles and wars. You might also think that saying academe creates a barbarian elite a strange claim to make but a short trip explanatory trip through history will substantiate it.

In early society, tribal teachers (today’s academics) curious about what lay beyond their borders stimulated (yes stimulus was alive and well even then) some of their pupils to investigate. In most cases, unfortunately, their investigations often had disastrous consequences because on arrival many soon evinced a desire to acquire the new lands for themselves.

To do so, they used force to subjugate the residents of the new lands who objected. And so because these barbarian practices have carried on over the centuries and remain in vogue, it seems to me that academe has a lot to answer for.

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