Civilization We Live in Is Term Paper
- Length: 8 pages
- Sources: 2
- Subject: Evolution
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #38563360
Excerpt from Term Paper :
Secondly, the relations that were created at the level of the social groups and of the human establishments gave rise to a surplus of products and inevitably of wealth. This was a natural consequence of the fact that the specialization of labor determined a larger quantity of products being made and of better quality. This is seen as the first revolution, the predecessor of events such as the industrial revolution of the 18th century or the informational one in the 20th century. The specialization of work offered the producers the possibility to exchange goods and to create the first good markets. In turn this led to an equal distribution of the profit because some of the goods traded had a higher or lower value on the respective market.
This trend can also characterize today's civilized world. In this sense, despite the fact that we live in a world that is fully mechanized and one which benefits from the latest technological developments, the distribution of wealth is not equal, an element which determines the current state of poverty in most African countries. One element that would explain this state of fact is the value of the goods traded or purchased from Africa. In this sense, the money value of certain products produced in Africa is inferior thus they are forced to produce more to ensure their means of existence. At the same time, producers tend to exploit their employees in order to achieve profit; from this point-of-view, the issue of inequality is obvious.
One of the most eloquent examples of the social inequality of ancient civilizations but at the same time one of the most remarkable sources for human development is the Mesopotamian civilization, developed between the Tigris and the Euphrates in today's Middle East region. Despite the fact that it is often considered to be a unitary civilization, in fact, the Mesopotamian culture is formed by three distinctive elements of civilization. More precisely, one can distinguish between the Sumerian civilization along the Persian Gulf, the Acadians in the center of the region, and the Assyrians in the north.
The creators of the Mesopotamian civilizations are however, considered to be the Sumerians. As part of their culture, they were the founders of Uruk, one of the first architectural creations of the civilized world. At the same time, the Mesopotamians are one of the first people to have established city states along the rivers (Berstein and milza, 1994). This economic development was possible due to the impressive natural resources and especially due to the fact that most city states were created on the banks of the rivers which represented a true source of life for the population. However, the actual development of the civilization is visible in the way in which the population was able to exploit these natural resources and establish a functional economic system. This was characterized by a stable state system. More precisely, the territory was considered the property of the king, while the workers were servant slaves in the service of the god of the temple ruling the city state. Therefore, it can be pointed out the fact that religion played a significant role in the rule of the community. Moreover, priests represented a distinctive class in the society, superior to regular people because of the strong reliance on natural benefits and the fear for natural disasters (Berstein and Milza, 1994).
The form of government of the Mesopotamian and the Sumerian population in particular was strictly related to the king in power. Therefore, the king had the possibility to decide over the life and death of its subjects. Such a situation was common especially in times of war, as the reign of Urukagina showed. He was one of the last kings to lead his people against foreign enemies, until the demise of the Sumerian state at the hands of the Acadian state.
From a religious point-of-view, Sumerians were deeply committed to the worshiping of gods, and the existence of temples. The number of the latter was considerable as they represented the means through which a king would repay the god for its mercy. In such occasions, he would offer slaves and other goods as sacrifices for better crops and results.
In terms of culture, the Mesopotamian civilization is one of the first sources of philosophical thought. Despite the fact that there are no visible elements of a clearly stated cultural identity, in terms of philosophy, there are certain existentialist myths that try to answer the questions related to the creation of the world. One such belief concluded that the beginning of the world relied in water and a certain spirit that existed before anything else which guided the evolution of the human being (Berstein and Milza, 1994). This approach is explicable taking into account the way in which they perceived the rivers surrounding them, as the core essence of their lives.
The Egyptian civilization is yet another example of the way in which human kind slowly but constantly evolved. However, by comparison to the Mesopotamian civilization, it took a different direction in its evolution. In this sense, the geographical situation determined a certain sense of isolation because of the desert, the sea, and the mountains that delimitated the Egyptian civilization from the rest, including Sumer. Therefore, the civilization of Egypt developed separately into a flourishing new culture.
The political organization included the pharaoh, considered to be a living god for its subjects and the embodiment of perfection. The administrative part of the state was conducted by scribes, the cornerstone of the administrative apparatus. The society in general was made up of small agrarian communities, led by the elderly who had administrative, fiscal, and judiciary attributions. An important element of the society was however slavery. Unlike other parts of the antique world, they were not totally limited in their rights, and were in general war prisoners. However, slavery was also a method used to pay depts. The owners had the right to sell or rent them, but also they could be freed by their master.
The culture of ancient Egypt was one of the most important of the early periods of civilization. Painting, music, and even architecture were considered to have a sacred meaning for the society and dedicated a lot of attention to such endeavors. This is one of the reasons for which the Egyptian art is precious for posterity.
One of the most important periods of the ancient world is represented by the Greek state, rightfully considered to be the cradle of democracy. The geographical position as well as the natural resources determined Greeks to excel in sailing and thus develop a civilization based on sea wars and confrontations. One of the most notable eras in the history of the Greek polis was the Mycenaean era which determined a great development in terms of territorial conquests such as Argos, Phylos, Athens, and Thebe. These territorial developments gave rise to a series of evolutions in terms of social fragmentation between the craftsmen, the peasants, and the slaves. At the top of the social ladder however, the philosophers and the military were considered to have the greatest importance in the society (Berstein and Milza, 1994). As a result, a certain sense of superiority was developed inside the community, one which considered the philosophers and the poets to represent a particular strata inside the society. This is one of the reasons for which the Greek writer Homer is viewed as one of the most important figures of ancient Greece.
At the same time, due to the increase influence Greece came to have in the region as one of the most important trading partners and an essential producer of olive oil, wine, and spices, the cult for a special place in history for Greece developed. In this sense, it came to be identified with important elements such as the art of rhetoric or of the tragedies that were very fashionable the time. From this point-of-view, Greece represented a source for cultural creation.
As part of the philosophical writings, Plato and Aristotle have had an important contribution. In this sense, they both sought the best means to govern a city state, considering that neither of the available mechanisms served the city as a whole. More precisely, democracy was seen as useless because it would have allowed the population, even the ignorant one, to decide on the matters of the city. At the same time, the oligarchic system was unacceptable because it would have implied the rule of the rich in their own interest. Monarchy was as well considered not entirely satisfying, but a useful solution as opposed to the tyrannical rule (Braunstein and Pepin, 1998).
Despite the fact that Greece was seen as a cultural unitary construction, there were several aspects that broke this sensitive unity. In this sense, the conflict between Sparta and Athens is eloquent. In the beginning, despite the fact that they were rival states, they united against a common enemy during the Persian Wars against the Persian…