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czahar
April 24th, 2010, 05:46 AM
This thread is a test run for a theory (probably not very original) which I was just thinking of today:

I was skimming over the pages of a textbook I bought a while ago: The World: A Brief History of the World by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto when I came upon this line:


Compared with the relative stability of forager communities, societies that depend on agriculture are prone to lurch and collapse.

To collapse means:


to fall or cave in; crumble suddenly; or to break down; come to nothing; fail.

Historians love talking about the rise and fall of civilizations. To this day, Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is still required reading in many Roman History classes. History textbooks also neatly separate history into epochs where a civilization begins on one page and ends on the next, helping to reinforce the idea that civilizations do, in fact, end.

I, however, disagree with Professor Fernandez-Armesto and many other historians in this matter. To collapse means to end, as something which comes to nothing indeed ends. A segment ends. Between points A and B there is a segment. Before and after points A and B there is no segment. There is nothing of the segment. The segment has come to nothing. When a movie ends there is no more movie. There is no more plot, no more dialogue, no more special effects. There is indeed nothing left which can be defined as "the movie". The movie has come to nothing.

Civilizations, however, do not come to nothing. First, no civilization has ever ended suddenly. No civilization's end can be pin-pointed to a specific day or even a specific year. Second, civilizations do not end at all, that is, if we are going to define civilizations by such phenomena as languages, religious practices, and technology. Sure, their languages evolve, and certain practices (be they religious or secular) are either cast aside or melded with those of other cultures, but entire civilizations never come to nothing. Take Rome, for instance. The Italians to this day speak what is essentially nothing more than a mutated version of Latin (as do the French, Spanish, Portugese, and even, to a degree, the English), remain a primarily Catholic nation, and use civil law, which is essentially nothing more than modified Roman law. Unlike the segment and the movie, there is still something (as opposed to nothing) left of Roman civilization.

So, I challenge anyone here on ODN to give me an example of a society which "collapsed" or ended.

The Great Khan
April 24th, 2010, 06:45 AM
This thread is a test run for a theory (probably not very original) which I was just thinking of today:

I was skimming over the pages of a textbook I bought a while ago: The World: A Brief History of the World by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto when I came upon this line:


Compared with the relative stability of forager communities, societies that depend on agriculture are prone to lurch and collapse.

To collapse means:


to fall or cave in; crumble suddenly; or to break down; come to nothing; fail.

Historians love talking about the rise and fall of civilizations. To this day, Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is still required reading in many Roman History classes. History textbooks also neatly separate history into epochs where a civilization begins on one page and ends on the next, helping to reinforce the idea that civilizations do, in fact, end.

I, however, disagree with Professor Fernandez-Armesto and many other historians in this matter. To collapse means to end, as something which comes to nothing indeed ends. A segment ends. Between points A and B there is a segment. Before and after points A and B there is no segment. There is nothing of the segment. The segment has come to nothing. When a movie ends there is no more movie. There is no more plot, no more dialogue, no more special effects. There is indeed nothing left which can be defined as "the movie". The movie has come to nothing.

Civilizations, however, do not come to nothing. First, no civilization has ever ended suddenly. No civilization's end can be pin-pointed to a specific day or even a specific year. Second, civilizations do not end at all, that is, if we are going to define civilizations by such phenomena as languages, religious practices, and technology. Sure, their languages evolve, and certain practices (be they religious or secular) are either cast aside or melded with those of other cultures, but entire civilizations never come to nothing. Take Rome, for instance. The Italians to this day speak what is essentially nothing more than a mutated version of Latin (as do the French, Spanish, Portugese, and even, to a degree, the English), remain a primarily Catholic nation, and use civil law, which is essentially nothing more than modified Roman law. Unlike the segment and the movie, there is still something (as opposed to nothing) left of Roman civilization.

So, I challenge anyone here on ODN to give me an example of a society which "collapsed" or ended.

It depends on what you mean by end. If you take a snapshot and define the Roman Empire as a specific political entity encompassing certain territory, having certain government, language, demographics, etc, then yes, that entity no longer exists. Even though certain elements still survive (albiet in a warped fashion), those elements are not the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire may not have completely collapsed, but it certainly does not exist. However, it's almost impossible to destroy a civilization, because there may be one guy living in a cave somewhere who still considers himself part of a dead culture. So long as he and passes it down, the "civilization" still exists, even if its just one person.

However, I think a civilization can collapse if its small and impermanent enough. Native American civilization, for instance is closer to dead than Roman civilization, as the former lacked permanence. The Romans had writing, infrastructure, a strong political system, and definite presence, unlike the Native Americans, who basically lacked a written language (excluding what they developed due to American influence), permanent infrastructure, a strong political system, and definite borders. The Native American culture was passed down orally. Even if you killed a Roman, his culture survives through his writing. Kill a Native American storyteller and you kill both man and culture. Similarly, Native Americans did not shape the land to their needs. Burn down longhuts and teepees and then the tribe vanishes, and there's no trace it ever existed, as there's no permanent change to the land. Legit architecture, especially Roman engineering, is much harder to effectively eliminate. Dams, roads, mines, farms, etc. all mess with the land. The Natives moved around a lot; the didn't establish anything permanent because they were nomadic and impermanent in their very lifestyle. This is the fate of all nomadic soceities. That's why the Native Americans, the Mongols, the Huns, and other pastoral nomads were absorbed into sedentary societies, who, due to their permanence, made nomadic wandering difficult due to such things like borders, stronger military, large populations, etc. forcing the nomads to assimilate or die. Because of their relatively large populations, and the tendency of pagan culture to mix with others due to its flexibility and tolerance, these cultures survive in warped forms or small pure pockets today.

However, it is indeed possible for a culture to die out if it is A) small enough that it does not influence other cultures and survive in warped form and B) isolated enough that there's no space for small pure pockets to survive and no external civilization to preserve it as it died, say in history textbooks or museums. Obviously, I can't name any, because my very act of knowing of them proves that someone found this culture on its deathbed and preserved them in history books, like how Anvita Abbi recorded Boa Sr (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boa_Sr).'s songs and knowledge of the now dead Bo language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_language_%28India%29) before her death (she was the last speaker of the language). But I'm sure there were tiny tribes that developed their own culture and died out without being absorbed, preserved in pure pockets, or artificially preserved by foreign cultures. If archeologists ever find some lost tribe in the jungle somewhere that rose and fell without ever contacting anyone else, then it would prove that civilizations can indeed end, as this culture, being small and isolated, did not influence any other culture and does not at all survive in warped form, was too localized to spread and survive in small pure pockets, and too cut off for some foreign civilization to come and preserve it artificially before it died (say the Great Adamanese people died out before anyone contacted them, and, being isolated, did not spread or influence anyone). The only reason we'd know about is if we found it after its death and potential for influencing others had passed, thus making our finding not artificial preservation of the culture in and of itself.

Mr. Hyde
April 24th, 2010, 08:47 AM
So, I challenge anyone here on ODN to give me an example of a society which "collapsed" or ended.

The Olmec (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec) Could be said to've been a civilsation that ended.

The Mayans and Incas are another two that could also be said to've ended. The people who lived on the Canary islands (leaving a language we STILL can't translate).

The reason, to my understanding, people (myself included) believe that agriculture (at least our brand) leads inevitably to collapse is that A: it's not exactly a sustainable method and B: it creates a dependence that, when removed, is deadly. Given a three year drought like the Mayans suffered, or the droughts the Olmec could probably have dealt with, or the Anasazi, etc. The brand of agriculture we use (which myself and others call Totalitarian Agriculture), is suicidal in the longterm and genocidal in both the short and long terms.

The Great Khan
April 24th, 2010, 09:46 AM
The Olmec (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec) Could be said to've been a civilsation that ended.

The article says that the Olmecs created the foundation of Mesoamerican culture (bloodletting, human sacrifice, Mesoamerican calendar, Mesoamerican ballgame etc.). These cultural elements were adapted by the Aztecs, Maya, Inca, Toltec, Moche, etc. so the Olmec really aren't dead by czahar's standards, as he sees the Roman Empire as not really dead given its influence on modern Europe via language, law etc.


The Mayans and Incas are another two that could also be said to've ended.

Maya and Inca tradition lives on still if we use czahar's broad terms. The Incan language of Quechua is still spoken in Peru, Bolivia and other places in South America. South American Catholicism is usually a mixture of native traditions and Christian ones.


The people who lived on the Canary islands (leaving a language we STILL can't translate).

Very close. But the Guanches of the Canary Islands still exist, and they too have formed a neo-pagan movement, mixing their religion with Christianity.

DeadBeatDebatr
April 24th, 2010, 11:34 AM
The article says that the Olmecs created the foundation of Mesoamerican culture (bloodletting, human sacrifice, Mesoamerican calendar, Mesoamerican ballgame etc.). These cultural elements were adapted by the Aztecs, Maya, Inca, Toltec, Moche, etc. so the Olmec really aren't dead by czahar's standards, as he sees the Roman Empire as not really dead given its influence on modern Europe via language, law etc.



Maya and Inca tradition lives on still if we use czahar's broad terms. The Incan language of Quechua is still spoken in Peru, Bolivia and other places in South America. South American Catholicism is usually a mixture of native traditions and Christian ones.



Very close. But the Guanches of the Canary Islands still exist, and they too have formed a neo-pagan movement, mixing their religion with Christianity.

Technically speaking, Latin is only spoken as an official language in 1 out of the 196 countries that exist. That country is Vatican City and it takes up only a city block!

Dr Gonzo
April 24th, 2010, 02:18 PM
If you take Hyde's Quinn-ism (I, too, am B!) to it's fullest extent, the East (Asia and the Near/Middle East) and West (Western Europe, North and Latin America) are basically the same culture, at the base level. We both have structured society, we both have agriculture, we both are sedentary and non-nomadic (for the most part), etc etc. Culturally speaking, yes, there are difference, in dress and appearance, food, business, and all of that, but at the root we are all just different flavors of essentially the same thing. They're chocolate and we're vanilla, or whatever, but we're BOTH icecream.

If that premise is taken as true, then no civilization has really ever died out so much as evolved into something else. And really, if you count all of the small "pocket civilizations" as "tribal," you really only have two civilizations on the planet - tribal, and non-tribal. And as far as non-tribal civilizations go, we're really just one, big, human civilization. If one were to make broad generalizations to attempt to bisect different cultures as "civilizations," where would that one stop the cuts? I mean, are people from Alabama a different civilization than those from Maine?

czahar
April 24th, 2010, 05:45 PM
It depends on what you mean by end. If you take a snapshot and define the Roman Empire as a specific political entity encompassing certain territory, having certain government, language, demographics, etc, then yes, that entity no longer exists. Even though certain elements still survive (albiet in a warped fashion), those elements are not the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire may not have completely collapsed, but it certainly does not exist. However, it's almost impossible to destroy a civilization, because there may be one guy living in a cave somewhere who still considers himself part of a dead culture. So long as he and passes it down, the "civilization" still exists, even if its just one person.

Just one question, Khan. How can something no longer exist if it has not completely collapsed? As far as defining civilizations go, see my response to Gonzo.

One clarification, too. I never said Roman civilization. I never specified the empire.


The Olmec (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec) Could be said to've been a civilsation that ended.

The Mayans and Incas are another two that could also be said to've ended. The people who lived on the Canary islands (leaving a language we STILL can't translate).

The reason, to my understanding, people (myself included) believe that agriculture (at least our brand) leads inevitably to collapse is that A: it's not exactly a sustainable method and B: it creates a dependence that, when removed, is deadly. Given a three year drought like the Mayans suffered, or the droughts the Olmec could probably have dealt with, or the Anasazi, etc. The brand of agriculture we use (which myself and others call Totalitarian Agriculture), is suicidal in the longterm and genocidal in both the short and long terms.

Khan beat me to your argument.


Technically speaking, Latin is only spoken as an official language in 1 out of the 196 countries that exist. That country is Vatican City and it takes up only a city block!

I argued that variations of Latin were spoken here.


If you take Hyde's Quinn-ism (I, too, am B!) to it's fullest extent, the East (Asia and the Near/Middle East) and West (Western Europe, North and Latin America) are basically the same culture, at the base level. We both have structured society, we both have agriculture, we both are sedentary and non-nomadic (for the most part), etc etc. Culturally speaking, yes, there are difference, in dress and appearance, food, business, and all of that, but at the root we are all just different flavors of essentially the same thing. They're chocolate and we're vanilla, or whatever, but we're BOTH icecream.

If that premise is taken as true, then no civilization has really ever died out so much as evolved into something else. And really, if you count all of the small "pocket civilizations" as "tribal," you really only have two civilizations on the planet - tribal, and non-tribal. And as far as non-tribal civilizations go, we're really just one, big, human civilization. If one were to make broad generalizations to attempt to bisect different cultures as "civilizations," where would that one stop the cuts? I mean, are people from Alabama a different civilization than those from Maine?

I think your argument hints at why civilizations cannot truly be thought to end - they cannot clearly be defined. A segment can be clearly defined. It is the thin, black streak between points A and B. Once point A and/or B are crossed, the streak ends. My cell phone can defined. It's the little plastic thing on my table which I can use to make phone calls. It ends where the plastic it is made out of ends.

However, to define the boundaries of ancient and medieval civilization are not so clear, and this can be evinced by the fact that historians to this day disagree on where one ended and the other began. Some date it to Alaric's sack of Rome in 410 while others, such as the Belgian historian, Henri Pirenne date state it continued all the way to the seventh century. And that is only if the term "Roman Empire" or "antiquity" is defined in terms of the west. In the East, the Roman Empire has been dated to 1453. Still others such as Peter Brown have:


. . . have turned away from the idea that the Roman Empire fell refocusing on Pirenne's thesis. They see a transformation occurring over centuries, with the roots of Medieval culture contained in Roman culture and focus on the continuities between the classical and Medieval worlds. Thus, it was a gradual process with no clear break. Brown argues in his book that,



"Factors we would regard as natural in a 'crisis' - malaise caused by urbanization, public disasters, the intrusion of alien religious ideas, and a consequent heightening of religious hopes and fears--may not have bulked as large in the minds of the men of the late second and third centuries as we suppose... The towns of the Mediterranean were small towns. For all their isolation from the way of life of the villagers, they were fragile excresences in a spreading countryside."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_the_Roman_Empire

How can anything which is so ill-defined be thought to end?

Dionysus
April 24th, 2010, 10:19 PM
The story of the Amalekites might come close (though not all the way):

1 Samuel 15: 1-9

1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.

2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.

5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.

6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.

7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.

8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Mr. Hyde
April 26th, 2010, 06:40 AM
The article says that the Olmecs created the foundation of Mesoamerican culture (bloodletting, human sacrifice, Mesoamerican calendar, Mesoamerican ballgame etc.). These cultural elements were adapted by the Aztecs, Maya, Inca, Toltec, Moche, etc. so the Olmec really aren't dead by czahar's standards, as he sees the Roman Empire as not really dead given its influence on modern Europe via language, law etc.
Then I'd argue the definition is too broad. If I'm understanding the reasoning correctly, then I could argue that the T-Rex isn't really dead, because aspects of him (reptilian skin, teeth, claws, bad breath) live on in various creatures around the world. If you were to argue that, be that as it may, the T-Rex itself (it's species) has ended, then I'd argue that whatever reasoning you would apply to say such could be equally applied to Civilisations/cultures, IE, aspects of it may survive, but the thing itself is gone.

If you take Hyde's Quinn-ism (I, too, am B!) to it's fullest extent, the East (Asia and the Near/Middle East) and West (Western Europe, North and Latin America) are basically the same culture, at the base level.
To me, Quinn doesn't go far enough with his argument, or his evidence. There was an article in National Geographic about a tribe in Africa that survives exclusively on a hunter-gatherer premise, and these people, in spite of what many could call damn near a barren wasteland, manage to have a healthier, wider diet than you or I. And Quinn seemed fond of saying, "If we don't change, we'll all die" without saying, "If we all walk away, a great deal of us will die anyway" per the food issue (without enough food to sustain the numbers, people will die off until the situation stabilises). PLus a few historical missteps I've caught, but beyond that, the books were eye-opening.

czahar
April 26th, 2010, 09:56 PM
Then I'd argue the definition is too broad. If I'm understanding the reasoning correctly, then I could argue that the T-Rex isn't really dead, because aspects of him (reptilian skin, teeth, claws, bad breath) live on in various creatures around the world. If you were to argue that, be that as it may, the T-Rex itself (it's species) has ended, then I'd argue that whatever reasoning you would apply to say such could be equally applied to Civilisations/cultures, IE, aspects of it may survive, but the thing itself is gone.

You cannot compare a civilization to a creature, though. We know what it means for a creature to be gone. It means that it is dead. In other words, its vital functions fail and it loses all consciousness. When the last of a species dies, that species can be said to be extinct.

But what exactly does it mean for a civilization to die? What exactly does it mean for it to be gone? When does a civilization end, and when does it simply change? Civilizations are always changing. They adopt new ideas, do away with old ideas, intermarry with other cultures, etc. Rome repeatedly changed its geographical, and political characteristics. Did its civilization end each time it did so?

Mr. Hyde
April 29th, 2010, 07:26 AM
You cannot compare a civilization to a creature, though. We know what it means for a creature to be gone. It means that it is dead. In other words, its vital functions fail and it loses all consciousness. When the last of a species dies, that species can be said to be extinct.

But what exactly does it mean for a civilization to die? What exactly does it mean for it to be gone? When does a civilization end, and when does it simply change? Civilizations are always changing. They adopt new ideas, do away with old ideas, intermarry with other cultures, etc. Rome repeatedly changed its geographical, and political characteristics. Did its civilization end each time it did so?

Like I said, any argument you can use on civilizations can be used on animals. I'll illustrate:


You cannot compare a civilization to a creature, though. We know what it means for a civilization to be gone. It means that it is dead. In other words, its vital functions fail and it loses all influence and function. When the last of a markets dies, that civilization can be said to be extinct.

But what exactly does it mean for a species to die? What exactly does it mean for it to be gone? When does a species end, and when does it simply change? Species are always changing. They adapt new functions, do away with old ones, intermarry with other species, etc. The Beatle repeatedly changed its geographical, and physiological characteristics. Did its species end each time it did so?

Same argument, different words. Just as logical. The aspects of the thing (creature or country) may live on and be spread, but the thing itself is gone. It's not at all different from how we pass on our ideas, dreams, and genes, to the next generation but ourselves die off. In that way, in creating that legacy, we don't TRULY die anymore than Rome or the Beatle...or the Beatles.

czahar
April 29th, 2010, 08:25 PM
Like I said, any argument you can use on civilizations can be used on animals. I'll illustrate:

You cannot compare a civilization to a creature, though. We know what it means for a civilization to be gone. It means that it is dead. In other words, its vital functions fail and it loses all influence and function. When the last of a markets dies, that civilization can be said to be extinct.

Ironically, this argument just proves my point. Roman civilization's vital functions (not sure I quite understand what that means) never ceased. Its markets never died. It never lost all function. Going by your argument, ancient Roman civilization is still alive and thriving.


But what exactly does it mean for a species to die? What exactly does it mean for it to be gone? When does a species end, and when does it simply change?

For animals such as the T-Rex, a species dies out when an entire group of creatures who share similar characteristics and are capable of breeding with each other cease living. By "cease living" I mean their hearts stop pumping blood, brains stop working, and the bodies of each one of those members start decomposing.


Species are always changing. They adapt new functions, do away with old ones, intermarry with other species, etc.

Species intermarry with one another? Not sure I'm following you there.


The Beatle repeatedly changed its geographical, and physiological characteristics. Did its species end each time it did so?

Are beatles defined by their geographical locations in the same way Rome is defined by its geography?

Getting straight to the point, though, there are criteria which can be fulfilled for a creature to die. Its heart stops beating, its brain stops functioning, blood stops flowing, and its body decomposes. No such criteria exist for civilizations, or, if we are going to go by the criteria you put forth, then no civilization has EVER ended.

Mr. Hyde
April 30th, 2010, 06:35 AM
Ironically, this argument just proves my point. Roman civilization's vital functions (whatever that is supposed to mean) never ceased. Its markets never died. It never lost all function. Going by your argument, ancient Roman civilization is still alive and thriving.
That's exacty what I'm saying. If we take the position that aspects live on (applying evolution to culture), then no civilisation or culture EVER really dies. Similarly, and again with biology, we could even stretch it with genetic memory (instinct), and suggest that our ancestors live on, literally, through memory imprints in our genes (which, oddly enough, is something Socrates supposed back in the day).

For animals such as the T-Rex, when a group of creatures who share similar characteristics and are capable of breeding with each other die out. When all the hearts stop pumping blood, brains stop working, and the bodies of each one of those members start decomposing.
I'm not sure I'm explaining it correctly. If we're to say a civilisation ENDS. We need a definition of what it means to end. If any aspect is passed on, and we say, "Those parts survived, ergo, it didn't really die" as we are, then the Legacy Theory I propose is an apt comparison for both biology and anthropology. If not, then we have to term a consistent definition for Civilisation-Endings. Taking the view that, the thing as it's understood: Roman Empire, large and powerful, after a period of time decreased in size and influence until it no longer could be qualified as an empire, would suggest, I'd argue, that Civilisations can be measured in both life and death by progression. Once they begin to decrease (with no sustained increase afterwards), we can say they are dying. From there we can, or at least try to, point to a period where they no longer exist comparably to ANY point in their own history, and say they are effectively dead, IE, it's smaller than it's ever been, even smaller than the beginning, and it's continuing to die, let's euthanise it and call it dead.

Wait. Species intermarry with other species? That's news to me.
Sure, providing the law allows it. :grin:

Are Beatles defined by their geographical locations in the same way Rome is defined by its geography?
Most animals are defined in part by their geography (or at least residence), like the California Mountain Snake, or the Brazilian Wandering Spider. I cited beatles because they're notorious for evolutionary leaps in short spans of time.

The fact of the matter is, there are criteria which can be fulfilled for a creature to die. Its heart stops beating, its brain stops functioning, blood stops flowing, and its body decomposes. No such criteria exist for civilizations, or, if we are going to go by the criteria you put forth, then no civilization has EVER ended.
All I'm suggesting is that we take the criteria we use to define the ending of one thing, and apply it to another. We define how species die out, why NOT use the same definition for cultures?

czahar
April 30th, 2010, 08:17 AM
Hyde, I am going to attack this from a different angle and use the following analogy: You were a child once. Now you are an adult. Would you argue that you as a child and you as an adult are two different things, or that the adult you is just an evolved version of the child you?

Mr. Hyde
May 5th, 2010, 07:32 AM
Hyde, I am going to attack this from a different angle and use the following analogy: You were a child once. Now you are an adult. Would you argue that you as a child and you as an adult are two different things, or that the adult you is just an evolved version of the child you?

I would argue neither. As opposed to what we're discussing, at the minimum, civilisations or lifeforms ceasing to be (or at least shrinking), I've grown. No part of me as disappeared or died off or evolved, except maybe my baby teeth. Quite the opposite, I, like a fledgling city to an empire, have flourished and expanded.

Dr Gonzo
May 7th, 2010, 12:37 PM
No part of me as disappeared or died off or evolved, except maybe my baby teeth.

On the contrary, every single part of you has died off and then regrown (or not), either the same or differently, much like individuals in an empire. It's the old Ship of Theseus paradox, with a subtle twist.

If you also consider the law, the child-version of you officially ceased to exist on your 18th birthday, at exactly midnight in whatever timezone you lived in at the time. In the exact next instant, the adult-version of you began.

czahar
May 8th, 2010, 05:00 AM
Hyde,

While I still believe there is some merit to the claim that civilizations do not end, I do not think my opening post has defended said claim adequately. In fact, upon re-reading it, I think my opening post was quite poor. I have tried to weasel my way around such a poor argument, but I do not feel I have done a good job of it. Short and to the point; I am conceding this debate. This subject needs far more thought than what I put into it, and I feel it would be intellectually irresponsible of me to continue defending such flimsy premises. Thank you for the challenges and for exposing the flaws in my argument.

Cheers,
Czahar

czahar
May 10th, 2010, 07:02 AM
Where are you guys to rep me when I win and argument??? :grin:


Mr. Hyde agrees: I won?

Aw, sheesh, man, rub it in a little more, why don't you. Yes, you won. It was a premature theory of mine that I was taking for a test run and you totally nailed me. Now go take Syl out and blast Queen's "We are the Champions" over your car stereo at my expense.

But seriously, brother. Great job! :afro:

Mr. Hyde
May 11th, 2010, 07:03 AM
On the contrary, every single part of you has died off and then regrown (or not), either the same or differently, much like individuals in an empire. It's the old Ship of Theseus paradox, with a subtle twist.

If you also consider the law, the child-version of you officially ceased to exist on your 18th birthday, at exactly midnight in whatever timezone you lived in at the time. In the exact next instant, the adult-version of you began.
That's what I was driving at. Either we're constantly dying and becoming something new, or we're never really dying. The definition isn't consistent. I wasn't taking a side in the discussion; I was forwarding what I believed to be problems with it (also known as the "I'm going to debate without actually debating" defense).

Where are you guys to rep me when I win and argument??? :grin:
Happened to me many times, but I found that simply admitting defeat is better than clinging stubbornly to a position (any idiot can hold on with zeal, it takes dignity and class to concede).

But seriously, brother. Great job! :afro:
Winning's no fun. I come here to lose (and thereby get better). It's why I jump in half cocked and almost never take the same position in spite of similar arguments appearing.

himanshu10140
May 18th, 2010, 11:51 PM
Civilisations end only when it has not a single follower.in my view,no one knows how many are there.there are about 50% common in every civilisation
without civilisations,humanworld wouldnot be there.

manc
September 2nd, 2010, 12:12 PM
When things change into other things, they always contain some of the past, even if the seem to have completely negated them.

For example when water evaporates, it has not disappeared, just changed.

Civilisation collapsed for a number of reasons. The old ones in Roman times etc were built on slavery which is a dead end and cannot develop society, they have to be overthrown to allow the productive forces to develop. Thus they were replaced by feudalism and then capitalism. There are always vestiges of the old within the new.

---------- Post added at 11:12 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:11 AM ----------




The reason, to my understanding, people (myself included) believe that agriculture (at least our brand) leads inevitably to collapse is that A: it's not exactly a sustainable method and B: it creates a dependence that, when removed, is deadly. Given a three year drought like the Mayans suffered, or the droughts the Olmec could probably have dealt with, or the Anasazi, etc. The brand of agriculture we use (which myself and others call Totalitarian Agriculture), is suicidal in the longterm and genocidal in both the short and long terms.

you should be on my global resources thread

Gherkin
June 30th, 2011, 09:05 AM
All things are impermanent.

You will come to an end, your nation will come to an end, this world will come to an end, this galaxy will come to an end, the universe will come to an end, existence will come to an end.

There is nothing permanent to trust in, and nothing to which satisfaction can be placed forever (which exists materially).

All things are changing always. You are not the same person now as when you started reading this post - we all die a death an instant.

tanstaafl28
September 15th, 2011, 07:55 PM
The Mayan Civilization collapsed rather suddenly. At its height, (about 900 BCE) the population density around their major city was comparable to Los Angeles County today. Their civilization thrived for six centuries and mysteriously disappeared. We don't know exactly why. A drought, famine, or disease, may have been to blame.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/15nov_maya/

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/08/maya-rise-fall/gugliotta-text

cstamford
September 16th, 2011, 04:08 PM
The story of the Amalekites might come close (though not all the way):

1 Samuel 15: 1-9

1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.

2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.

5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.

6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.

7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.

8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

<SUP>8 </SUP>And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.
<SUP>9 </SUP>And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish. 1 Samuel 27:8-9

<SUP>1 </SUP>And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
<SUP>2 </SUP>And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. 1 Samuel 30:1-2

<SUP>13 </SUP>And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick.
<SUP>14 </SUP>We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.
<SUP>15 </SUP>And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.
<SUP>16 </SUP>And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.
<SUP>17 </SUP>And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.
<SUP>18 </SUP>And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 1 Samuel 30:13-18

The Israelites didn't eradicate the Amalekites, although you are not the first to read the passage you quoted and get that impression. I suggest reading a history of Amalek to correct this impression.

JohnLocke
September 16th, 2011, 07:42 PM
Well, no, Civilizations don't end. They change. Sometimes the change is slow. Other times the changes happen quickly. However, I don't believe that any event in history has caused the destruction of 100% of the populace, culture, and remains of a Civilization. Such a perfect destructive event seems rather improbable.

Dionysus
September 16th, 2011, 09:47 PM
The Israelites didn't eradicate the Amalekites...I know. That's why I said...


The story of the Amalekites might come close (though not all the way):

...in the very post you quoted.

cstamford
September 16th, 2011, 11:25 PM
I know. That's why I said...



...in the very post you quoted.

Ah, yes. Intermitant reading disability I guess.

MindTrap028
September 18th, 2011, 09:02 AM
A civilization can end if it is well defined.
If we define a civilization in broad enough terms then the answer will always be no. However, "Rome" did end, it no longer exists. Parts of it may exist, but as a whole it is gone. Saying that Rome continues on in the Civilizations that built upon it's ruins would be like to say all the people who were used to make up Frankenstein were still alive.
I think that is too broad an idea of what makes A civilization.

RoryB
May 20th, 2012, 09:24 AM
In my opinion, no. Every major civillisation in history has left us with something taken for granted in the modern world. The greeks :theatre, The Romans: shaped much of britain as it is today. The mongols introduced lkaw that no one was above, the abacus, paper money. The list goes on. While the civilisations may collapse, they give us something through the ages and shapes our world today