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Word Civilizations

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Throughout history there has been a constant tension between the 'civilized' and 'barbaric', 'cultured' and 'savage'. These tensions shift along geography among peoples throughout time. To me, what makes a country, nation, empire, or 'people' civilized is not anything physical, but rather any people's collective cultural ability to be flexible and advance themselves through knowledge and inclusivity. In this way civilization is a transient thing, not guaranteed to last in any one place or among a certain group of people forever. The reasons civilizations decline can vary from warfare to environmental change. But just because a civilization disappears in an area does not mean it will not rise again, as was the case with the rise and fall and rebirth of ancient Indian civilizations.

Just about every area on Earth has experienced some level of civility either in the present or the past, even though there are areas now that most people might consider uncivilized. Present day America is by far one of the most civilized places on the planet. It possesses a pursuit and accumulation of knowledge, attempts to better itself through technological advancement and the rule of law, and is one of the most inclusive nations in existence. These same traits describe most every 'civilized' country that has existed.: the Roman and Greek Empires, Mesopotamia, Ancient China, and the early Islamic areas of the Middle East, to provide just a few examples. All of these places were regarded as barbaric before their rise to civilization and many suffered a return to barbarism or backwardness after the height of their civility. So too did ancient India have lows and highs.

During the Aryan migrations into India between 1500 and 1300 BCE India was said to be in a state of declining civilization. Prior to that time in the Harappan periods great urban centers sprung up around the Indus Valley. Religious, artistic, and linguistic development flourished. It is believed the environmental change, degradation and even the shifting of the Indus river lead to Harappan decline and a fragmentation of society. During such periods anywhere in the world a people lose interest in inclusivity, learning, science, and other matters not related to survival. Barbarism itself could really be seen as simply a product of people being forced to spend much of their time surviving, with little free time to develop those attributes we consider part of civilization.

That these conditions come and go, that groups of people are capable of declining from civility into a lesser state and rising again is illustrated by the coming of the Indian 'Golden Age', in which the advancement and successes of the Harappan period were exceeded and India was perhaps the beacon of 'civility' on all the Earth. This shifting of the centers of civilization is truly illustrated by the simultaneous decline of Greek



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