Civilizations in motion

How does one behold a civilization? One might start by beholding the man, to paraphrase Pontius Pilate. Archaeology and deconstruction are fine tools for understanding the civilization, however, a rigorous intellectual approach distances the intellectual from the underlying humanity of the social construct called civilization. A civilization is best appreciated in motion; the flow of traffic on the streets, the celebration of festivals and such.

Kumbh Mela

The largest peaceful religious gathering in the world, Hindus congregate here to bathe in the Ganges and cleanse their sins.

Every man for himself: salvation lies not in consideration for one's fellow man, but ritual execution. South Asian religions stress ritual perfection instead of ethical perfection.

Every man for himself: salvation lies not in consideration for one’s fellow man, but in execution of ritual. South Asian religions stress ritual perfection instead of ethical perfection.

Solipsistic ecstasy: Every man prays for his own salvation. This might be the world's largest gathering but every devotee present here is an island.

Solipsistic ecstasy: Every man prays for his own salvation. This might be the world’s largest gathering but every devotee present here is an island.

The chaos of the Indian city: Every man for himself; no road signs, no road etiquette, no consideration; just a billion egos perpetually in conflict with one another.

Every man for himself:  The chaos of the Indian city; no road signs, no road etiquette, no consideration; just a billion egos perpetually in conflict with one another.

One congregation, one body, one spirit, common humanity. Unlike South Asian religions, Christianity emphasizes the horizontal relationships between individuals and seeks to bridge that gap via the mechanism of morality.

One congregation, one body, one spirit, common humanity. Unlike South Asian religions, Christianity emphasizes the horizontal relationship between individuals and seeks to bridge that gap via the mechanism of ethics.

The pursuit of happiness takes on a moral quality when one’s own happiness becomes contingent upon the happiness of others, or at least what one believes is the happiness of others.”  – Arthur Danto, Mysticism and Morality: Oriental thought and moral philosophy.

The great depression saw the proliferation of breadlines, which would eventually evolve into soup kitchens in future decades. When government relief programs died out in the 1930s, volunteer groups, private charities, and Churches stepped in to fund breadlines that became the lifeline for thousands of poverty stricken Americans.

Striking a balance: Generous giving in a Capitalist society. Capitalism and charity are not mutually exclusive in a civilized society.

The famine of Gujarat, India (1900).

The ones who died without a name. The victims of British ambivalence and Hindu indifference.

The ones who died without a name. The victims of British ambivalence and Hindu indifference.

The famine of 1900 was one of the worst to hit India in modern history. People sold of their possessions (including the doors of their houses) until they had nothing left, after which they starved. The Brahmins slept well, their conscience clear on grounds of their vegetarianism. The Jains slept well, their conscience clear on account of the hospitals they built for animals. The Vaish/Trader castes slept well, as they packed up their capital and fled to Mumbai. The only relief came from Catholic and Methodist groups in Europe. The upper castes scoff at these Christians for their simplistic view of God. I’m certain the corpses in the above photo died with content knowledge that their scriptures are far more philosophically advanced than the primitive Bible.

To return to the very first question of this article, how does one behold a civilization? There is the way of the scholar, that is, the way of the discursive intellect; and then there is the intuitive way of deconstructing the man that inhabits this mighty social construct. I lean towards the latter, to observe the man that has been wrought upon the anvil of his civilization. I would thus rephrase Plato and say that Man is civilization writ large. Ecce homo.

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11 Responses to Civilizations in motion

  1. Alice says:

    Christianity has its good points, at this moment i could even say is better overall than Hinduism, but it would be nicer if Christians were more understanding of Homosexuality, as far as know, the core Hinduism is neutral with Homosexuality, this sunday i visited a Protestant church, i didn’t see something bad with their morals, but i see much paranoia ,they were talking about the Illuminati !!! for real.

    • Eren Jäger says:

      I have no problem with gay people as long as they stop playing victim. Honestly, when it comes to sex, I have no problem with anyone’s personal choice. I mean, I have several fetishes myself, so it is not my position to judge homos. I do ask that homos quit playing victim though, they play Trayvon Martin better than Blacks.

      Also, I am atheist, but I still love Christianity! Greatest religion IMO, Jesus was the most badass mofo to walk this Earth.

      • WmarkW says:

        Yes, homosexuality is a sexual practice, not a demographic group.
        It shouldn’t be illegal, but its practitioners don’t deserve EEO status for it.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        It shouldn’t be illegal, but its practitioners don’t deserve EEO status for it.

        That’s exactly how I see it. I also find it ridiculous the way that gay activists attempt to compare their movement to the black civil rights movement. Well, in fairness to gays, they aren’t the only ones guilty of this. Certain Latino immigration activists come to mind.

        (ie. the outcries of “Juan Crow” following Arizona’s SB1070)

  2. Eren Jäger says:

    Haha, Dota, keep this up and soon your site will have to put a shitload of Hindutva trolls on moderation. Even Robert started posting less about Hinduism because of the insane amount of trolls. On the other hand, those pictures of Indians look so Caucasoid to me, I am glad that there are a lot of Caucasians still out there.

    • Dota says:

      The Hindutvas are certainly a nuisance, but this stuff needs to be said. To paraphrase Seth Macfarlane, somebody’s got to hold up a mirror to Indian society to remind them of how problematic their culture is. It needs fixing.

      • Miki says:

        India (or South Asia in general) is as poor as Sub-saharan Africa, overall is not a country (or a región) to be proud of, however there are two exceptions = Kerala and Goa, the most developed states of India, they should split and be countries ,after all almost each state of India is in reality a country with each own language, people from Kerala and Goa wouldn’t want to be associated with the rest of Indians.

      • Eren Jäger says:

        Kind of how like the peaceful Pygmies and docile Bushmen should consider themselves separate races from the violent Bantus/Negroids/Blacks. When the South African apartheid system established Hottenots as part of the same group as Blacks, the Bushmen protested this. Besides, both Pygmies and Khosians have suffered massive loss of land due to the Bantu Expansion and their primitive agriculturalism which causes them to evolve towards high-Testosterone, high-aggression levels.

      • Miki says:

        The North and East of India are the poorest, people who speak Chhattisgarhi, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese, Telugu and Bengali; the Indians from South and West are more rich, people who speak Kannada, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Konkani, Malayalam and Haryanvi, I like Carnatic music and was created in Karnataka, a Southern Indian state which speaks Kannada.

      • Miki says:

        More information about the subject: South India (Like Kerala, Karnataka) scores higher on just about every single human development measure (male-female gap, educational achievement, poverty count etc) than North India, with the not-really-saying-anything exception of suicide.
        Likewise the West of India is more developed than the East: Eastern India has a literacy rate of 59.7, which is much lower than the national literacy rate of 64.8 😉

  3. Eren Jäger says:

    Those Indian guys look pretty neotenic in comparison to Anglo Whites. They look like hapas.

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