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Can man become civilised

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Alias
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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 3rd, 2019, 1:31 pm

We'll never agree on definitions and categories, but that's by the way.
Keeping to the OP subject, how does this work in human evolution?
[ what change should be made in individuals to better fit them for civilization?]

Acquiring an ethic
Whence? You don't inherit ethics; you learn them in youth or formulate them in adulthood. They're not genetically transmissible; you can teach your ideals to your own offspring, but they do not necessarily subscribe to the same ones when they grow up. They may improve on the ethics of their parents, but can just as easily go the other way. There is no natural selection for any particular ethic; which one confers an advantage depends on the culture.
which acknowledges the autonomy of individuals, the diversity of their goals and interests, and their status as equal moral agents, free to pursue their various interests as they see fit, as long as they violate no one else's rights, and with no a priori obligations to pursue anyone else's.
Since that ethic has already been formulated - if not previously, then just now, by you - it no longer needs to come about through evolution.
How do you, individually, benefit from holding this view? How does it give you an edge on survival? Does it attract more and higher quality mating opportunities? How do your offspring benefit?
In brief: how does this ethic become the dominant norm?
And why, in the roughly 300 generations since the beginning of civilization, has it not yet become the norm?

Belindi
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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Belindi » January 3rd, 2019, 5:01 pm

GE Morton wrote:
The adaptation to which I referred was not biological adaptation, via Darwinism, but cultural evolution --- the abandonment of beliefs, expectations, assumptions, and intuitions inherited from our tribal, primate ancestry. What we need is not a new biology, but (as I said before) a new social weltanschauung. Modern societies lack the structure within which those archaic assumptions and beliefs developed, and upon which they depend for relevance.

It is possible, of course --- even likely --- that some of those beliefs and intuitions derive from innate dispositions and affective responses selected for, in Darwinian fashion, over that long primate history. But dispositions are not rigid commands; they can be overridden by reasoned judgment. Indeed, civilization could not have arisen had the disposition to regard strangers as threats and enemies not been overridden
I agree that cultural change differentiates human evolution from that of other animals. Cultural change is more rapid than genetic change via natural selection.

I also agree that reasoned judgement can overcome emotional reactions.

I also agree with a subsequent post by GE Morton to the effect that urbanisation necessitated individualism.

Alias
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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 3rd, 2019, 5:56 pm

So, the real question is not Can man become civilized? because that's already happened,
but Can civilization become humane?

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 3rd, 2019, 6:07 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 5:01 pm
I also agree with a subsequent post by GE Morton to the effect that urbanisation necessitated individualism.
How does this work?
Were there no individual humans before cities?
(Note: elephants are individual and do not live in cities.)
Or does a city require individuals to run it?
(Note: Ants are not notably individual, and live in cities that function more efficiently than ours.)
Or perhaps "individual - ism" is being considered as a philosophical concept, in which case, the contention would be that persons who espouse this ideology function more successfully in cities than do persons who reject it, and reciprocally, that individualists contribute more to cities than do persons who subscribe to other ideals, such as Christianity or Buddhism. Is this what you mean?

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Belindi » January 4th, 2019, 8:18 am

Alias wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 6:07 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 5:01 pm
I also agree with a subsequent post by GE Morton to the effect that urbanisation necessitated individualism.
How does this work?
Were there no individual humans before cities?
(Note: elephants are individual and do not live in cities.)
Or does a city require individuals to run it?
(Note: Ants are not notably individual, and live in cities that function more efficiently than ours.)
Or perhaps "individual - ism" is being considered as a philosophical concept, in which case, the contention would be that persons who espouse this ideology function more successfully in cities than do persons who reject it, and reciprocally, that individualists contribute more to cities than do persons who subscribe to other ideals, such as Christianity or Buddhism. Is this what you mean?
Individualism is the view that the individual is more important than the local community and extended family. Individualism was the main characteristic of the Romantic movement in late eighteenth century Europe.(Romanticism) For young workers to migrate from rural villages and farms to new centres of industry they needed moral justification which individualism provided. One particular attribute of Romanticism was and is the idealisation of romantic love, which had its origins in the poetry of Chretien de Troyes; this view permitted the young and productive couple to put their interest before that of the older people of the family.

http://people.duke.edu/~wmr/romantic%20love.htm

Alias
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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 4th, 2019, 11:21 am

Belindi wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 8:18 am
Individualism is the view that the individual is more important than the local community and extended family.
A philosophical concept, then. Good.
More important to whom? According what scale of priorities? For what purpose? Does this view hold equally for all persons in a society?
More head-scratchingly, how does one become an individual?
Individualism was the main characteristic of the Romantic movement in late eighteenth century Europe.(Romanticism)
How is this relevant to civilization as a whole?
Compared to other movements in arts and letters over the millennia, how important is this one in shaping civilization?
For young workers to migrate from rural villages and farms to new centres of industry they needed moral justification which individualism provided.
An excuse to earn a living? Didn't urbanization already accomplish that, back in Babylon? Athens? Luxor? Calcutta?
One particular attribute of Romanticism was and is the idealisation of romantic love, which had its origins in the poetry of Chretien de Troyes; this view permitted the young and productive couple to put their interest before that of the older people of the family.
And multiply like rabbits and starve in tenements earning five pence a day at piece-work....
This served capital very well, but did it propel civilization to a new stage of its evolutionary path?

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Belindi » January 4th, 2019, 12:33 pm

Alias wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 11:21 am
Belindi wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 8:18 am
Individualism is the view that the individual is more important than the local community and extended family.
A philosophical concept, then. Good.
More important to whom? According what scale of priorities? For what purpose? Does this view hold equally for all persons in a society?
More head-scratchingly, how does one become an individual?
Individualism was the main characteristic of the Romantic movement in late eighteenth century Europe.(Romanticism)
How is this relevant to civilization as a whole?
Compared to other movements in arts and letters over the millennia, how important is this one in shaping civilization?
For young workers to migrate from rural villages and farms to new centres of industry they needed moral justification which individualism provided.
An excuse to earn a living? Didn't urbanization already accomplish that, back in Babylon? Athens? Luxor? Calcutta?
One particular attribute of Romanticism was and is the idealisation of romantic love, which had its origins in the poetry of Chretien de Troyes; this view permitted the young and productive couple to put their interest before that of the older people of the family.
And multiply like rabbits and starve in tenements earning five pence a day at piece-work....
This served capital very well, but did it propel civilization to a new stage of its evolutionary path?
Regarding individualism, the view that the individual is more important than the local community was important for the purposes of the owners of the centralised industries and also the purposes of the labourers who wanted to earn their livings. Since the agricultural revolution with its increasing automation there was less work in rural areas, and the work that there was was hard and often inconstant due to such systems as tied cottages.The old landed upper classes were still okay but tenant farmers and rural craftsmen were often insecure.

Romanticism was an integral part of industrialisation for the reason I explained i.e. mainly individualism. I think it must be impossible to quantify the influence of Romanticism as a world view . Probably Romanticism and individualism saved the industrialists the expenses of direct coercion as a means to get a labour force.

I don't know about industrialisation or urbanisation in the other times and places you mentioned.

I did not understand references to "civilisation". It's an imprecise word. I believe that capitalism is evil but I can't think of any alternative except that socialism ameliorates some of the evils.

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 4th, 2019, 9:43 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 12:33 pm
Regarding individualism, the view that the individual is more important than the local community was important for the purposes of the owners of the centralised industries and also the purposes of the labourers who wanted to earn their livings.
Agreed. It serves capitalist economy.
Does it also serve civilization as a whole? As of 1850, is civilization to be identified with industrial capitalism?
Romanticism was an integral part of industrialisation for the reason I explained i.e. mainly individualism. I think it must be impossible to quantify the influence of Romanticism as a world view .
How about gauging its importance, relative to other cultural movements, in the development of civilization?
Probably Romanticism and individualism saved the industrialists the expenses of direct coercion as a means to get a labour force.
I doubt it. Most of the affected people were in no financial or intellectual position to sample the most up-to-date in arts and letters. I think you can credit christianity and feudalism with the subservience of lower classes.
I don't know about industrialisation or urbanisation in the other times and places you mentioned.
Early civilizations must have had some formative influence on modern civilizations. You said that civilization necessitated individualism, but the first five millennia of civilization were urban and hierarchical, but pre-industrial. So, are you now saying that it's industrial capitalism that gave rise to the ideology of individualism? In that case, how did that further the course of civilization?
I did not understand references to "civilisation". It's an imprecise word.
Oh, I see. The OP characterized it as "living in cities". I understand that to mean that radical change in human social organization (is, too!) after settled agriculture when people concentrated their populations - not necessarily tribal units, but all sorts - in walled cities and differentiated it into specialized occupations.
I believe that capitalism is evil but I can't think of any alternative except that socialism ameliorates some of the evils.
I'm not sure about it being evil, though capitalism certainly provides many opportunities for the manifestation and permutation of evil, but it's obviously destructive and unsustainable. And I agree about socialism. Unfortunately, it's not aggressive enough to be very effective.

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by GE Morton » January 4th, 2019, 11:24 pm

Alias wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 1:31 pm

Keeping to the OP subject, how does this work in human evolution?
[ what change should be made in individuals to better fit them for civilization?]
Unknown, but it likely has little relevance. The adaptations required are cognitive and cultural, not biological.
Whence? You don't inherit ethics; you learn them in youth or formulate them in adulthood.
Learning, or cultural transmission, is a form of inheritance. Like genetic inheritance, it endows you with traits (beliefs and intuitions) not rationally (or even consciously) chosen. Unlike genetic inheritance, those traits are modifiable and replaceable with others more rational. Most people, however, retain, unreflectively, the essentials of the world view they inherited from their parents or absorbed from other cultural influences.
Since that ethic has already been formulated - if not previously, then just now, by you - it no longer needs to come about through evolution.

I never claimed that it would come about by (biological) evolution.
How does it give you an edge on survival? Does it attract more and higher quality mating opportunities? How do your offspring benefit?
In brief: how does this ethic become the dominant norm?
The answer to that can be found by comparing civilizations (with respect to, e.g., standards of living, life expectancy, literacy rates) where that ethic is at least partially accepted to those where it is not, over the course of history.
And why, in the roughly 300 generations since the beginning of civilization, has it not yet become the norm?
It is becoming the norm. But it is a slow process.

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by GE Morton » January 4th, 2019, 11:44 pm

Alias wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 9:43 pm

Early civilizations must have had some formative influence on modern civilizations.
Of course they did. Modern civilizations were created by members of those earlier civilizations. All (cultural) evolutionary changes are brought about by persons discontent with their status quo.
You said that civilization necessitated individualism, but the first five millennia of civilization were urban and hierarchical, but pre-industrial.
Not true, unless you're assuming a somewhat polemical definition of "industrial." Industry evolved throughout that entire period, in tandem with advancements in technology.
So, are you now saying that it's industrial capitalism that gave rise to the ideology of individualism? In that case, how did that further the course of civilization?
The other way around. All of the developments in technologies, arts, economies, ideologies --- and philosophies --- are the result of the emergence of individualism.
I'm not sure about it {"capitalism"} being evil, though capitalism certainly provides many opportunities for the manifestation and permutation of evil, but it's obviously destructive and unsustainable.
Oh? Per what evidence or criteria? It is destructive at times, of course, but you need to perform a cost-benefit analysis to assess its overall impact on welfare.

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 5th, 2019, 2:53 am

GE Morton wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 11:44 pm
Of course they did. Modern civilizations were created by members of those earlier civilizations. All (cultural) evolutionary changes are brought about by persons discontent with their status quo.

Not true, unless you're assuming a somewhat polemical definition of "industrial." Industry evolved throughout that entire period, in tandem with advancements in technology.

The other way around. All of the developments in technologies, arts, economies, ideologies --- and philosophies --- are the result of the emergence of individualism.

Oh? Per what evidence or criteria? It is destructive at times, of course, but you need to perform a cost-benefit analysis to assess its overall impact on welfare.
Non sequiturs, as the questions were addressed to Belindi, in reference to her previous post.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 5th, 2019, 3:19 am

GE Morton wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 11:24 pm
[Keeping to the OP subject... what change should be made in individuals to better fit them for civilization?]
Unknown, but it likely has little relevance. The adaptations required are cognitive and cultural, not biological.
Evolution requires that the changes be continuous. The change doesn't need to be biological, but it does need to be transmitted down the generations, in order to be considered evolutionary.
As compared to a waves or cycles of cultural enlightenment that come and go away and come again.
Learning, or cultural transmission, is a form of inheritance. Like genetic inheritance, it endows you with traits (beliefs and intuitions) not rationally (or even consciously) chosen. Unlike genetic inheritance, those traits are modifiable and replaceable with others more rational.
or less rational. That's the point: gains can just easily be lost. In fact, you did. (why put biological in brackets when it wasn't mentioned in this context?) That's not an answer. Some ethics may be wholly or partially accepted by societies, but do the persons who best exemplify that ethic become increasingly successful, outstripping the persons who have a different ethic? General standard of living and life expectancy may be measures of economy, industry and technology, but reveal nothing about ethics.
Let me guess. Modern urban white Americans are richer and live longer than the tribal Natives and Africans their recent (=/- 15 generations) ancestors massacred and enslaved. Because they subscribe to the civilized ethic of individual liberty.
What I don't get is how come, if this cultural evolution is a real ongoing process, those 15-generations-ago ancestors were no noticeable improvement on the Greeks, Persian and Romans 120 generation before them.

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 5th, 2019, 3:23 am

Screwed up the brackets and have no edit button. Oh well.
Really, only the last sentence is of any importance.

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Belindi » January 5th, 2019, 8:31 am

Alias wrote:

ME
Romanticism was an integral part of industrialisation for the reason I explained i.e. mainly individualism. I think it must be impossible to quantify the influence of Romanticism as a world view .
Alias
How about gauging its importance, relative to other cultural movements, in the development of civilization?
Me: I guess that individualism, as the economically important aspect of Romanticism, affected North America and other fast-developing countries where economies emerged from European Enlightenment following on Renaissance and Reformation of the RC Church. I doubt very much if individualism especially that of Romantic origin had any impact upon slave owning societies' urbanisation; nor upon communist societies.

As for conflating 'civilisation' with 'urbanisation' : the need for families to get together for communal agricultural and technological efforts and defence caused civilisation but not what we commonly call urbanisation.

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Re: Can man become civilised

Post by Alias » January 5th, 2019, 9:15 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 8:31 am

Me: I guess that individualism, as the economically important aspect of Romanticism, affected North America and other fast-developing countries where economies emerged from European Enlightenment following on Renaissance and Reformation of the RC Church. I doubt very much if individualism especially that of Romantic origin had any impact upon slave owning societies' urbanisation; nor upon communist societies.
Were there communist societies in the nineteenth century? They couldn't have been big enough to influence the course of civilization.
If Romanticism had an effect on North America - which I agree it did, at least in the upper classes and creative arts - that would also have contributed to the movement to end slavery. By then, there were not so many slave-owning nations, among which the USA was prominent.
So, I concede that the Romantic idea played a part in an adaptation which eventually spread to all the civilized world.
I don't see any evidence that it changed people, or social relations.
As for conflating 'civilisation' with 'urbanisation' : the need for families to get together for communal agricultural and technological efforts and defence caused civilisation but not what we commonly call urbanisation.
That was the OP definition which provided the parameters for this discussion. I just try to colour inside the lines whenever possible.

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