Becoming human

Feb 2014
2,499
1,153
Oregon
#61
Not all religions lead to civilizations. The religions that break on through to writing - to recording their oral traditions, prayers, histories - those are the ones that are likeliest to found civilizations. Whether the arc of civilization runs on to the end of everything - I'm not sure that's the case. China was stable & civilized for a very long time - but they didn't build on the technology they'd developed, & in fact they called their ocean-going fleets home & destroyed the ships & withdrew the shipbuilding technology. For their own reasons, I'm sure - but it was a mistake in terms of World politics - it left China vulnerable to whoever had the ships & the manpower & technology to impose their will on China.

The arc of a civilization may simply depend on the religion it forms around - Christianity became a proselytizing religion - & so went out into the World & tried to civilize it. The civilize part, I think, suffered considerably in comparison to the wealth & power attendant upon successful conquest - booty, slaves, lands, titles, & exaltation back in the home court. But @ least in theory, that proselytizing role was present. Poorly executed, often enough - but @ least aspirational. Some people took it seriously enough, that we've progressed as far as we have.

Can we carry out the proselytizing mission? If not, or we're unwilling to do so, what does our culture dedicate itself to in place of that mission? That's the question we need to consider - & lies @ the heart of a lot of our psychological/spiritual malaise in the West. We have all these means - What do we want to accomplish with them?
Wow! You made an excellent and very exciting point! Fortunately, we have plenty of tribes living exactly as they did centuries ago, with their creation stories and rituals. What is it about writing that leads to civilizations that do not occur when information is passed from generation to generation orally?
If I remember correctly Hebrews were nomadic tribes until Isreal. There appears to be a connection between writing and civilizing. :lol: Moses couldn't receive the ten commandments written on a stone if they did not have written a language. I suppose God had to wait for them to decide on the form of their written language before He could give them the rules. Maybe if the contract with Adam and Eve had been in writing, they may have done a better job of sticking to the contract.

It is sometimes claimed that around the 10th century BCE a distinct Hebrew variant, the original "Hebrew script", emerged, which was widely used in the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah until they fell in the 8th and 6th centuries BCE, respectively.
History of the Hebrew alphabet - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Hebrew_alphabet
China was hit by a philosophy that chose stability over the risks of change.

I just read somewhere that societies that choose cooperation over competition tend to stagnate. China's growth and inventiveness happened in a time of wars. Europeans continued to compete and war with each other, never achieving the unity that China achieved. When Islam was spreading through war, it was also growing intellectually, and it has also stagnated.
However, all civilizations may rise and fall?

According to the lectures I am listening to now, Rome saw itself as the necessary power to give the world law and order, well before Christianity. I think we need to keep in mind that Christianity is a product of Rome. The Christian product is a combination of many civilizations.

The Christian proselytizing wasn't that different from the Muslim proselytizing was it? :lol: Nothing works better than convincing the people of God's will for them. When you have several gods they can argue with each other just as people do. Democracy is an imitation of the gods. The God of Abraham religions have a kingdom and the will of only one god. It is much easier to mobilize people around one god.

About those slaves, God told the Hebrews they were special and should not become slaves but they could own slaves. My jaw hit the floor when I read in the New Testament that Christians were to be good slaves.

In the US culture, the proselytizing mission was human dignity and rights, until we replaced liberal education (pagan education) with education for technology and left moral training to the church. A huge mistake! That Christians were convinced the dream of the Age of Enlightenment should be our goal was a good thing. However, without liberal education, Christianity is not what it was for a couple hundred years.
 
Feb 2014
2,499
1,153
Oregon
#62
@Athena

This is a very fascinating question, Athena--and it is one in which Philosophers and Cognitive Scientists wrestle with tremendously. The Philosopher Dan Dennett argues that we "learn to be human"--as if we were to meet a child that was 100% cut off from human contact, it likely would have an undeveloped mind that is arguably not at "human level consciousness". Personally, I am not quite sure I agree entirely with his position, though I do see the angle he is approaching from.
We can know Dan Dennett is correct because of feral children and the ability to make images of their brains. All the neurons in our brains come from our spinal column and migrate to the necessary areas. These neurons are not well connected until our later years. That is each specialized area of our brain operates pretty much on its own, until our later years, so the young absorb facts much better than older people, but older people have a better understanding of the meaning of those facts because their neurons are better connected.

However, when an area of the brain is not used, the neurons atrophy and die. Now we take images of a feral child's brain we can see areas such as the area for language has atrophied to the point that they can not learn language. They may learn words but that is not equal to the complexity of language. The feral child is like animals that can communicate with body language and sound, but do not have language.

We add to this experiments on primates that we could not do to humans, and begin to understand the importance of playing with peers in social development, and what the social status of parents and parenting skills has to do with the offspring's personality development and future.

We have tons of information, but unfortunately, religion keeps us retarded in the knowledge of being human and using this knowledge for political and economic decisions. We are so ugly! We do research to learn how to manipulate people and this is considered highly valuable information, but when it comes to understanding our human nature and social organization, there isn't a big market for that information. A good book about human nature will never sell as well as the bible. We don't like the idea of being mortal and vulnerable without a god to save our sorry asses, and responsible for our own fate and what we do to others and our planet.

xMathFanx, I assume you think in terms of math. Imagine what our political thinking would be if we all used math to understand our social realities. We are capable of this, but we are not doing it. We are voting on emotional impulse, not a good understand of the meaning of facts. We are as we are conditioned to be.
 
Likes: 1 person
Nov 2013
2,257
929
NM
#63
History is full of surprises



According to the lectures I am listening to now, Rome saw itself as the necessary power to give the world law and order, well before Christianity. I think we need to keep in mind that Christianity is a product of Rome. The Christian product is a combination of many civilizations.

The Christian proselytizing wasn't that different from the Muslim proselytizing was it? :lol: Nothing works better than convincing the people of God's will for them. When you have several gods they can argue with each other just as people do. Democracy is an imitation of the gods. The God of Abraham religions have a kingdom and the will of only one god. It is much easier to mobilize people around one god.

I think Christianity is far more a development of Judaism than of Rome. Judaism provided the OT, the Messianic thrust of history, ethics, languages, theology. Rome provided a culture that needed the organization, hierarchy & ethics of Christianity, but Imperial politics (Constantine's needs) were also for a bureaucracy (literacy) that spanned the Empire. Christianity gained temporal power & helped hold the Empire together. & when the Empire passed altogether, it was Christianity that helped hold the pieces together & helped preserve the Greek & Latin documents that helped move the Renaissance (& the Islamic copies & translations).

I'm not sure that Roman Christianity spread @ sword-point. In the early days, it seems to me that Christianity spread across northern Africa by example more than by force of arms - but I've not studied that.

Islam's spread was odd, if I understood it correctly, Islamic government made much more money from unbelievers - special taxes & levies - than they did from Islamic believers. Perhaps one reason that non-believers converted to Islam. But that meant that Islam's conquering days also contained the seeds of serious economic problems for the Islamic regimes.
 
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Feb 2014
2,499
1,153
Oregon
#64
I think Christianity is far more a development of Judaism than of Rome. Judaism provided the OT, the Messianic thrust of history, ethics, languages, theology. Rome provided a culture that needed the organization, hierarchy & ethics of Christianity, but Imperial politics (Constantine's needs) were also for a bureaucracy (literacy) that spanned the Empire. Christianity gained temporal power & helped hold the Empire together. & when the Empire passed altogether, it was Christianity that helped hold the pieces together & helped preserve the Greek & Latin documents that helped move the Renaissance (& the Islamic copies & translations).

I'm not sure that Roman Christianity spread @ sword-point. In the early days, it seems to me that Christianity spread across northern Africa by example more than by force of arms - but I've not studied that.

Islam's spread was odd, if I understood it correctly, Islamic government made much more money from unbelievers - special taxes & levies - than they did from Islamic believers. Perhaps one reason that non-believers converted to Islam. But that meant that Islam's conquering days also contained the seeds of serious economic problems for the Islamic regimes.
Obviously, if we were writing a book on becoming humans, we need chapters for the different steps form transitioning from primates to human, to developing social coherence around the central fire with song and dance and then story telling. Getting to stories of how the natural forces mold our lives, such as noting brother wolves are a good example of family and social order. Then we get religions and from religion, bureaucratic development.

True Christianity held the western civilization somewhat together when the Rome in the west failed, but it had serious problems organizing the secular world. It was far too focused on the kingdom of heaven and let the pagan Rome laws fall into oblivion. It was the rediscovery of the old Roman laws in Italy that got the renaissance and then the enlightenment going.

Islam had much better bureaucracy than the Christians. It would be nice if we could replay world history and see what would happen if Christians hadn't been so destructive to the region held by Muslims, but now we are getting really off topic. It would be great to do a separate thread about the importance of bureaucracy to human development with a focus on what made the governing bureaucracies around the world develop differently and very pertinent to the forum at large.

Here can we get a tighter focus on what language, and then written language, had to do with going from being apes in transition to modern man?
We went from worshiping a mother goddess and giving her gifts to keep her happy so she would feed us, to a temple that held grain and distributed it to citizens, too bureaucratic development. :-D What makes humans different from all the other animals is we are more versatile and can survive just about anywhere, whereas animals are restricted to their natural habitats, and secondly, we can work together in very large numbers! Not all human species survived. Only one species of human survived and we can use Darwin to understand that we are the fittest because of our ability to organize in large numbers.

For those who still resist the theory of evolution...

7 Homo species close to present human that existed on the Earth.
https://www.ancienthistorylists.com/.../7-homo-species-close-present-human-existed-e...
Humans evolved from the family Hominid (great apes), that existed on earth around 20 million years ago. Unlike today, there were different human species that ...
‎Homo Heidelbergensis · ‎Homo Rudolfensis · ‎Homo Abilis · ‎Homo Floresiensis
 
Likes: 1 person
Apr 2018
25
4
Ukraine
#65
Don't you guys think that these days kids are too obsessed with gadgets. My daughter spends so many time on social media, I even use spy phone app to check out who she is chatting with because I afraid that there may be some scammers on the web and any kid may become a victim. Isn't it scary for you?
 
Sep 2015
13,633
4,964
Brown Township, Ohio
#66
Don't you guys think that these days kids are too obsessed with gadgets. My daughter spends so many time on social media, I even use spy phone app to check out who she is chatting with because I afraid that there may be some scammers on the web and any kid may become a victim. Isn't it scary for you?

Your daughter is focused on gizmos and not gadgets. My daughter is out of focus.
 
Feb 2014
2,499
1,153
Oregon
#67
Don't you guys think that these days kids are too obsessed with gadgets. My daughter spends so many time on social media, I even use spy phone app to check out who she is chatting with because I afraid that there may be some scammers on the web and any kid may become a victim. Isn't it scary for you?
How can we understand humans being so drawn to human contact through computing devises? All I have to go on, is my own experience. I find computing with others by the internet much less energy consuming, so I am mentally stimulated but not exhausted as I would be if I spent the same amount of time engaging with people. It seems a lot safer to engage with people this way because no one is in the room with me, so the room is quite, and no is judging how I look, so I am more relaxed and more focused on my thoughts. I also seem to think better when I am writing. I think usually people think better when they are talking, so perhaps a preference for writing is a matter of habit? Or perhaps it is about how our brains are organized for communication? For sure the more we use an area of the brain, the stronger it gets and when we don't use an area of the brain it atrophies and can die.

This is interesting. We could be fundamentally changing how humans evolve by relying on electronic communication and avoiding personal contact?
 
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