2005/11/18

Worldviews, civilizations and culture

I concluded my last post with the following words: "The European and by extension the Western civilization finds its roots in Christianity. In contrast the Chinese civilization seems to have been built directly out of its Animist societal experience". The ground where both civilizations sprouted and the roots they grew could thus not be further apart.

It is generally accepted that humans' present day form and fully grown brain potential were reached some 100,000 years ago. We have thus to assume that the earliest cultural development of humanity starts at least at that time. But recent scientific descoveries about animal societies conclude that animals have languages, societal organizations and their own cultures. Force is thus to assume that human culture goes back far earlier than the last 100,000 years.

The point here is not to engage in a scholastic debate about the time span covered by human culture. The point is simply to recognize that for well over 100,000 years humans were observing the earth and the sky and their cycles. Those observations then led them into thinking about their place in what they saw. The perception they so developed helped them to set up and adjust their early societal organization and thus emerged human culture.

I started this post writing about civilization and here I'm writing about culture and those who read me regularly know for a fact that I'm very often referrring to worldviews. But what are the differences between those concepts? Many writers use them as if they were interchangeable as if they were meaning the same thing but nothing could be further apart from the reality of their meaning. If we want to understand the evolution of human thinking, the evolution of human societal organizations, we better clarify the differences between those 3 concepts and how they relate to one another.

I'll try to clarify this question in my next 3 post.


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