28 September 2017
Was Civilization Good for Humanity
Civilization has benefits and consequences to human existence, whether we recognize them or not. We have advanced into the most intelligent versions of our species that has ever walked the planet, but ultimately at the cost of the assertion of new and deadly diseases, and the inevitable destruction of the very same planet. There’s been a plethora of historians and writers, much like Jared Diamond[endnoteRef:1], who point out the consequences civilization has had to a very specific degree. Although the reasons are there, and I’ll describe the more significant ones throughout, humanity is still in existence. We can also say we remain at the top of the “food chain” and our life spans are longer than they’ve ever been. One can speculate that civilization has its downsides, but when the question is “Was civilization good for humanity” it must be, because we are still here and more advanced than anyone before us. [1: Jared Diamond, “Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race” May 1987 Discover Magazine]
To start, let’s look at the Pyramids of Giza[endnoteRef:2]. At first glance, one’s mind immediately starts to ponder just how they constructed such a monument. Theories get so abstract that you might stumble across some that involve the cooperation of aliens… The Egyptians themselves had amassed such a grand civilization that some would even argue the greatest. Through way of distribution of wealth, education, and technological advances paved the way for the ability to the building such intricate structures like the Pyramids. Granted they’re merely buildings and one could argue their involvement in the “good” for humanity, but the Pyramids stand for far more than intricacy and grandness. Look closely at Egyptian civilization and ask the question “How did humans gain the ability to be so technical?”. To answer the question, it’s through a process discussed in class and known as specialization. In short, specialization is exactly what it sounds. Since having become a civilized species, humans have been able to divide their free time outside gathering food, to develop and harness skills such as architecture, masonry, and sheer organizational skills for the Pyramids sake. If as a race, we remained in a hunter-gatherer type society, the argument could be made that specialization would’ve never advanced like it did with the Egyptians. The manpower involved in building such a structure required ample cooperation, organization, and wealth which could only be developed over generations of stability and growth (a by-product of civilization). The argument of lifespan is also brought into the mix when discussing specialization. Through advancements in medicine, the modern-day man’s lifespan is generally longer than that of any nomadic hunter-gatherer. Civilization was good for humanity in the sense that it doesn’t limit each and all of us to spending...