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Thread: The finest moment in all of civilized history?

  1. #1 The finest moment in all of civilized history? 
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    Certainly, for all the wars and turmoils that accompany the history of civilization, there have been eras of peace and harmony throughout the history of civilization.

    Narrowing the history down to the later and more advanced eras of technology, to what may be the finest hour of civilization anywhere - the finest fleeting moment, acknowledging its flaws, may have been those two decades in the United States and Europe, between the end of World War II, in 1945, and the generalized beginning of the Vietnam War, in 1965 (which started earlier but didn’t get into full swing until ‘65).

    Is it unlikely that the world ever saw anything like it before? Is it just as unlikely that the world will ever see anything like it again?
    Any further thoughts on this consideration?


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    During this period of peace the following occured:

    The Soviet Union cemented its grip on Eastern Europe, including the brutal suppression of the Hungarian uprising.
    In parallel with this millions were killed in Stalanist purges.
    In China the Great Leap Forward led to the deaths of millions.
    The UK fought a series of bloody wars and police actions, against communist insurgents and freedom fighters.
    The partition of India, following independence, led to massive cross border migration and wholesale rioting and slaughter.
    The struggle for independence from the colonial powers led to death and destruction in Indonesia, French Indo-china, sub-Saharan Africa, French North Africa, and the Middle East.
    The CIA began its period of state sponsored terrorism, supporting repressive right wing goverments and attacking anything that even looked left wing.

    And those are just off the top of my head. Halcyon it was not.


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    Dear Oph:
    I couldn't have done that off the top of my head.
    Notwithstanding (and, as you have reminded, that's just a cursory listing of highlights of hegemony), yet still, was not the era between '45 and '65 a relative - however flawed and besmirched, modern Pax Roma. There are many comparable ages with cleaner records, whereas, this evaluation focuses on technological creature comforts and the relative - post W.W. II - calm over Western Civilizations - exceptions granted, where found.

    Take note that many of your citations occurred outside North America and Europe; which are the stipulated realms at the commencement of this thread.
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    Well if you mean by finest moment, a time on earth where there are no wars or massacres etc, your going to have a hard time finding a month.

    In the name of Science i believe the finest moment of civilisation was the landing on the moon by NASA (unless you believe that that was hoaxed) because it pushed what was at that time, the greatest boundary.

    In the name of History...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaugree
    In the name of Science i believe the finest moment of civilisation was the landing on the moon by NASA..
    A fine moment indeed, but it had bugger all to do with Science. Rather, it was atriumph for Technology and Politics. Science is altogether a different thing.
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    The finest moment in history: When the japanese realized how guns completely destroyed the fine art of war, turned battle fields into something completely lacking emotion or compassion, destroyed honor, caused more casualties, more deaths, and completely lacked most skill required other than load, aim, and shoot (which is far simpler than a sword, mind you), AND REVERTED BACK TO SWORDS! The JAPANESE, the *ONLY* civilization *REALIZING* these facts and traits about guns, REVERTED to something more CIVILIZED once again!

    They proved they were about the only ones intelligent enough _not_ to be controlled by the advancement of technology. Unfortunately, it didn't last, but it lasted quite a while nonetheless.
    While you may state this is not "civilized" history, I beg to differ, it was quite possibly the most civilized act ever performed.

    For the "greatest" moment in history civilized or not, this is probably it. If you're looking for "the most peaceful moment in history" to mark it as "the greatest", you're never going to find it. Every time a *PEACEFUL* civilization arose, it was slaughtered by conquering kings who claim this land in the name of (list gods/prophets here). Humanity has a complete and total _lack_ for almost anything peaceful.
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    If you're looking for "the most peaceful moment in history" to mark it as "the greatest", you're never going to find it
    I agree with this. Humans just seem to need War in their lives to keep occupied. War has always been and always wil be. Its probably something 'natural'.

    If you talk about the most 'civilized' times I wouldn't know. It depends on what the word civilized means to you. For me it is a when there is progress in many different ways. Not only scientific but cultural as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    The JAPANESE, the *ONLY* civilization *REALIZING* these facts and traits about guns, REVERTED to something more CIVILIZED once again!.
    Very interesting observation. You have encouraged me to do some reading on the topic. Thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    The finest moment in history: When the japanese realized how guns completely destroyed the fine art of war, turned battle fields into something completely lacking emotion or compassion, destroyed honor, caused more casualties, more deaths, and completely lacked most skill required other than load, aim, and shoot (which is far simpler than a sword, mind you), AND REVERTED BACK TO SWORDS! The JAPANESE, the *ONLY* civilization *REALIZING* these facts and traits about guns, REVERTED to something more CIVILIZED once again!

    They proved they were about the only ones intelligent enough _not_ to be controlled by the advancement of technology. Unfortunately, it didn't last, but it lasted quite a while nonetheless.
    While you may state this is not "civilized" history, I beg to differ, it was quite possibly the most civilized act ever performed.
    Where did you get this notion? Is it yours, or did you read it somewhere?

    I cannot imagine that you read it in a history book. The common version of your idealization is the reason that the Japanese rejected guns is that they were introduced by the Europeans to support Christian groups, which naturally arose in the area that guns made it exciting. Buddhim gained hold, successfully, in the same manner. The central government lacked guns and wanted to stop the European attempt to overthrow the Tokugawa on the pretext of freedom of religion. In short, the Japanese rejected guns because only the fringe elements, propped up by the Christian invaders, had them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Where did you get this notion? Is it yours, or did you read it somewhere?I cannot imagine that you read it in a history book. .
    I suppose that depends upon whether or not you consider Noel Perrin's Giving Up the Gun: Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879 to be a history book, or not. I suspect this is where Jeremy acquired the notion.
    I should certainly consider it to be a history book - it meets the criteria by which such are defined. So it seems Hermes, your imagination is limited, , since you can't imagine he read it in one.

    A more pertinent question is, is it a good history book?
    The weight of opinion seems to be it is not. I thought this brief discussion captured the consensus rather well:

    Many Americans believe they (gave up guns) because they’ve vaguely heard the argument of Noel Perrin’s book Giving Up The Gun, explaining that the Tokugawa Shogunate successfully suppressed firearms in Japan, partly by promoting the cult of the sword.

    But the book was wrong. Arthur Tiedemann, an eminent historian of Japan, once explained this to me personally. It seems that if you study the actual weapons inventories of daimyo houses, it turns out they maintained firearms and firearms-wielding troops from the Battle of Sekigahara clear through to the Meiji Restoration.

    This was especially true of the so-called ‘outside lords’, the descendants of the survivors of the losing side at Sekigahara. Their domains were far from the capitol at Edo and the shogunate’s control over them was often little more than nominal.

    But to significant degree it was true everywhere. The shogunate banned firearms, the daimyos pretended to obey the ban, and the shogunate pretended to believe them. A very Japanese, face-saving compromise.

    Source: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    So it seems Hermes, your imagination is limited
    Ophiolite, "your writing style obfuscates and confuses this particular forum member. (And not only me.) It is the same style I have seen used by persons wishing to 'stir the shit'. The snide asides. I am perfectly happy to believe that these are simply stylisitic elements that happen to give one the wrong impression. But that is the impression they give.
    I do not need to be especially suspicious to see the paralells with posters who do willfully stir things up. The comparisons are there. You will just have to live with the consequences of that. I certainly would not think of asking you to change your style."
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    You omitted the that indicates the remark was made in good humour.

    Let us remind ourselves that I was responding to your disparaging remarks to Jeremy:
    "Where did you get this notion? Is it yours, or did you read it somewhere?I cannot imagine that you read it in a history book. ."

    If you were unaware these were disparaging, let me assure you that they were. Expect to be gently reminded when you misbehave. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem.

    If you have anything further to say on this matter please take it up with me or one of the other mods by pm.
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  14. #13  
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    Actually, there is more on the subject here: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1504533

    And sorry I didn't post the link sooner. But hermes, you really have to work on reading a bit on something to counter what I say before ye insult. Much nicer that way.

    But that just completely slaughters my civilized era in Japan then. Ah well, so much for me hoping the human race was smart. Dang you!
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  15. #14 Re: The finest moment in all of civilized history? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by That Rascal Puff
    Certainly, for all the wars and turmoils that accompany the history of civilization, there have been eras of peace and harmony throughout the history of civilization.

    Narrowing the history down to the later and more advanced eras of technology, to what may be the finest hour of civilization anywhere - the finest fleeting moment, acknowledging its flaws, may have been those two decades in the United States and Europe, between the end of World War II, in 1945, and the generalized beginning of the Vietnam War, in 1965 (which started earlier but didn’t get into full swing until ‘65).

    Is it unlikely that the world ever saw anything like it before? Is it just as unlikely that the world will ever see anything like it again?
    Any further thoughts on this consideration?
    The Maya... 8)
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    I thought he was asking if there were other alleged periods of peace and harmony... the Maya were anything but peaceful.

    But then I've probably misunderstood...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    The finest moment in history: When the japanese realized how guns completely destroyed the fine art of war, turned battle fields into something completely lacking emotion or compassion, destroyed honor, caused more casualties, more deaths, and completely lacked most skill required other than load, aim, and shoot (which is far simpler than a sword, mind you), AND REVERTED BACK TO SWORDS! The JAPANESE, the *ONLY* civilization *REALIZING* these facts and traits about guns, REVERTED to something more CIVILIZED once again!
    Sure this would have been a great event but i don't really think it makes them peaceful, i mean a sword can still used to fight wars, you just wont do as well against guns.
    quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who will guard the guards themselves)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaugree
    Sure this would have been a great event but i don't really think it makes them peaceful, i mean a sword can still used to fight wars, you just wont do as well against guns.
    But if you fight with swords you make it more or les a sport: you need technique etc. and can actually be good at it. What makes you a good soldier if you fight with Guns? Its just aming and shooting there is no way you can defend yourself. There's no way of 'blocking' a bullet so guns are nothing more then a coward way to kill people who aren't able to defend themselves. If you atack someone with a sword her or she wil be able to defend. It is even possible that you will die, attacking your enemy
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    It's more peaceful because there was less unneeded death. And since you needed special training, as many people didn't die because as many people couldn't USE the sword effectively. Thus were useless in fights, and were never forced on the battle field. There was also honor codes, codes for battles, etc. Much much *much* more civilized than most gun warfare, I can assure you.
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    I'm only guessing, but wretched may be comparing the Mayans with the Aztecs, comparatively speaking, the Mayans were much more peaceful and less cruel and expansionist.
    The Minoans deserve a place of peace in the history of civilization also.
    I am aware that the history of civilization includes a parallel of the history of organized warfare - my offering was one of comparison, particularly after WW II (the by far most violent and all consuming war in history). Some very thought provoking contributions to this thread - the subject is as big as the history of civilization (citification) and organized warfare, which, however unfortunately, are practically synonymous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis
    But if you fight with swords you make it more or les a sport: you need technique etc. and can actually be good at it. What makes you a good soldier if you fight with Guns? Its just aming and shooting there is no way you can defend yourself. There's no way of 'blocking' a bullet so guns are nothing more then a coward way to kill people who aren't able to defend themselves. If you atack someone with a sword her or she wil be able to defend. It is even possible that you will die, attacking your enemy
    True, but guns also act as an equalizer for the people who aren't interested in spending hours every day practicing their sword technique. Now you can spend your day doing something that's actually useful to society and not have to worry about some samauri pushing you around simply because he's good at sword fighting and you don't dare challenge him.
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    While that may be true, one could still mkae useful contributions. And practicing swordsmanship is one of the more enlightening martial arts around. Those who were samruai EARNED that status through hard work, it prevented lazy asses from making stupid attempts to do stupid things to "help" society.

    So, actually, swords were an equalizer to prevent stupid people! Haha
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    The Maya (not "Mayan") were extremely war-like and engaged in ritualized warfare. There was a time when it was assumed by antiquarians and even early archaeologists that the Maya people were relatively peaceful, but the evidence suggests that they were probably more of a warrior class than the Aztecs.

    I could cite specific examples if anyone really wanted to know, but it might be easier if you read Michael Coe's The Maya (available at most good book stores and libraries) or the chapter on the Maya in Collapse by Jarod Diamond (definitely available at all bookstores).
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    Quote Originally Posted by That Rascal Puff
    I'm only guessing, but wretched may be comparing the Mayans with the Aztecs, comparatively speaking, the Mayans were much more peaceful and less cruel and expansionist.
    Well, not exactly, the Maya and the Mexicas, both had pretty much the same cosmovision, just as every group in Mesoamerica. But every civilization has had to some extent violence. Must control other groups and build a State. All great civilizations, I think , were violent.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    The Maya (not "Mayan") were extremely war-like and engaged in ritualized warfare. There was a time when it was assumed by antiquarians and even early archaeologists that the Maya people were relatively peaceful, but the evidence suggests that they were probably more of a warrior class than the Aztecs.
    That´s the difference, war was a ritual to keep the world moving, the fight of contraries... How come they thought they were peaceful with all the evidence pointing the contrary?
    There are many examples of violence everywhere.

    Perhaps the difference is that the Maya priests were more represented or mentioned in art and codex but I am sure the political teocracy was the same for both. The Mexica absorbed a lot of the already present knowledge of the groups in Mesoamerica that was learned from the Olmec civilization. Classic Maya is a good example of these influences.

    Still, what about war? some explain it relating it to psychological tendencies (innate human aggresion) or to an implicit ecological rationality. Some have explained the Maya warrior system as a mean to mantain the equilibrium between population, resources and territory, and its collapse due to the wrong interconections between culture and ecosystem. Maybe, who knows? perhaps we must ask the maya that still are around, I bet they have a lot to say about this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wretched
    How come they thought they were peaceful with all the evidence pointing the contrary?
    The evidence was once not so abundant and it was popular in the 1920's - 1960's to label the Maya as a lost civilization of peaceful Mesoamericans. The evidence started piling in with murals, stelae, artifacts of bloodletting & obsidian blades in the years that followed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by wretched
    How come they thought they were peaceful with all the evidence pointing the contrary?
    The evidence was once not so abundant and it was popular in the 1920's - 1960's to label the Maya as a lost civilization of peaceful Mesoamericans. The evidence started piling in with murals, stelae, artifacts of bloodletting & obsidian blades in the years that followed.
    Well, they for sure found a mayan city, if you have gone to one you could see all the frescoes showing people bloodletting from ears, tongues and penises, sacrifices...and the Cenotes full of skulls.

    To learn and notice they were not exactly peaceful is very obvious, even for the amateur eye... like the places where some cities were constructed, some were real fortress, like Toniná in Chiapas, and there were already news from them... consult Bernal D*az del Castillo... they knew the Maya... it only takes a few steps to find something interesting inside caves...eeek!... still!
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    ignore
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    Oh I forgot!!! and as sacrifice human victims have been replaced along these years... for example, the Lacandons, used monkeys and some rubber figures covered with the colour of a plant named Achiote... as red as blood... gosh! And other mayan groups, tzotzil, tzetzal, still sacrifice a lot of animals, bulls and so, chickens... very bloody and scary, all ceremonies and rituals...and I met some people who claimed some years ago human sacifices were common...
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  29. #28  
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    Thanking you one and all on this thread. MesoAmerica and post MesoAmerica is not my forte - so much to learn and so little time. Particular kudos to wretched and skinwalker.
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