What is Civilization?
Derrick Jensen said, “I would define…civilization…as a culture—that is, a complex of stories, institutions, and artifacts—that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities (civilization, see civil: from civis, meaning citizen, from Latin civitatis, meaning city-state), with cities being defined—so as to distinguish them from camps, villages, and so on—as people living more or less permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and other necessities of life. The story of any civilization is the story of the rise of city-states, which means it is the story of the funneling of resources toward these centers – in order to sustain them and cause them to grow – which means it is the story of an increasing region of unsustainability surrounded by an increasingly exploited countryside.”
Lewis Mumford said civilization is used, “To denote the group of institutions that first took form under kingship. Its chief features, constant in varying proportions throughout history, are the centralization of political power, the separation of classes, the lifetime division of labor, the mechanization of production, the magnification of military power, the economic exploitation of the weak, and the universal introduction of slavery and forced labor for both industrial and military purposes.”
Stanley Diamond said, “Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “Civilization is a hopeless race to discover remedies for the evil it produces.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.”
How Civilization Destroys
Throughout history, the story of civilization is the same. Only a few hundred years ago, this land on which we’re currently living was a pristine paradise. In that incredibly short amount of time – a blink of an eye in the history of the earth – civilization and more specifically industrial civilization and unfettered capitalism and more specifically still the unbelievably small number of sociopathic people who control and benefit from industrial civilization and unfettered capitalism at the expense of people and planet have enslaved, pillaged, poisoned, raped, and ruined much of the land, air, and water on which all known life in the universe depends. The cold hard truth is that civilization is killing us and the planet. This planet is the only place we know life to exist. You can’t trash the earth and expect to live on it.
What We Can Do About It
The bottom line is this. We move beyond civilization or civilization will destroy us. If you choose to let civilization destroy us – that is – you choose death, our conversation ends here. There is nothing left for us to do. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the annihilation. If, however, you choose to move beyond civilization – that is – you choose life, our conversation is just beginning. There is much for us to do. Stand up, engage, and resist by any means necessary. In other words, take action. And what better way to start than by supporting our film and joining the Upside Downtrodden community today!