The Civilization Grand Model

The Civilization Grand Model

Andrew Targowski (Haworth College of Business, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 44
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-004-2.ch001

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to develop a comprehensive model of generic civilizations and world civilization, applying the cybernetic technique of analysis and synthesis. Identifying the role of information-communication processes is particularly important for this quest, because these processes strongly influence the progress of civilization at the beginning of the 21st century. Three models, developed by Braudel (1993), Toynbee (1957), and Koneczny (1962), serve as both justification for this type of study and the foundations for a new model. The spectacular progress in technology and living standards achieved by mankind at the beginning of the third millennium prompts research on the grand view of the human condition. Numerous questions need to be answered: 1. What is a civilization? 2. What types of civilizations can be recognized at the beginning of the third millennium? 3. What are the relationships between any particular civilization and the world civilization? 4. What is the role of information and communication in a civilization? 5. What types of laws rule any particular civilization and the world civilization? 6. What are the prospects of the world civilization? Answers to these questions should help us to understand our current condition and the direction of its improvement or perhaps mankind’s further well-being.
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Introduction

The purpose of this study is to develop a comprehensive model of generic civilizations and world civilization, applying the cybernetic technique of analysis and synthesis. Identifying the role of information-communication processes is particularly important for this quest, because these processes strongly influence the progress of civilization at the beginning of the 21st century. Three models, developed by Braudel (1993), Toynbee (1957), and Koneczny (1962), serve as both justification for this type of study and the foundations for a new model.

The spectacular progress in technology and living standards achieved by mankind at the beginning of the third millennium prompts research on the grand view of the human condition. Numerous questions need to be answered:

  • 1.

    What is a civilization?

  • 2.

    What types of civilizations can be recognized at the beginning of the third millennium?

  • 3.

    What are the relationships between any particular civilization and the world civilization?

  • 4.

    What is the role of information and communication in a civilization?

  • 5.

    What types of laws rule any particular civilization and the world civilization?

  • 6.

    What are the prospects of the world civilization?

Answers to these questions should help us to understand our current condition and the direction of its improvement or perhaps mankind’s further well-being.

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The Civilization Approach To Human Development

The study of human development (similar to civilization)human development involves several scientific disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, geography, history, sociology, political science, economics, art and literature, and cybernetics. Each of these disciplines develops its own methods of analysis and synthesis; however, only a few attempts exist toward the formulation of grand models of human development (similar to civilization)human development. The scientific tendency in historiography is more toward analyzing than toward synthesizing.

One of the earliest researchers of civilization was Fukuzawa Yukichi in Japan, who defined it as follows:

Civilization comforts man physically and elevates him spiritually…Civilization advances the well-being and dignity of man, since man acquires these benefits through knowledge and virtue. Civilization can be defined as that which advances man’s knowledge and virtue.

In his opinion, “morals had remained almost unchanged throughout history, but intellect had shown marked growth and progress (Miyaki, 2004).

These are excellent thoughts, and very important for those of us living in the 21st century to consider in our approach to “the knowledge dociety,” which looks mostly for artificial intelligence in profit-driven data mining and robotics and neglects the moral values of natural intelligence.

In Western historiography, six attempts were undertaken in the last century to define a grand model of human developmental history. These undertakings generated more criticism than applause, and the Polish study is not widely known to the historical community.

The German philosopher Oswald Spengler published a study The Decline of the West (1932), in which he reflects the pessimistic atmosphere of Germany after World War I. Spengler maintained that history has a natural development in which every culture is a distinct organic form that grows, matures, and decays. He insisted that civilizations are independent from external influences. He predicted a phase of “Caesarism” in the future development of the Western Culture, which he believed was in its last stage.

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