Civilized? How About Just Civil?

Gandhi was once asked what he thought of Western civilization. He said he thought it was a good idea!.

Consider these words of William H. McNeill, a Canadian (!) who taught at the University of Chicago. Arnold Toynbee described his book The Rise of The West as the most lucid narrative presentation of world history that he knew. It’s a pretty hefty volume in both senses – weight and weightiness.

“Civilizations may be likened to mountain ranges, rising through aeons of geologic time, only to have the forces of erosion slowly but ineluctably nibble them down to the level of their surroundings. Within the far shorter time span of human history, civilizations, too are liable to erosion as the special constellation of circumstances which provoked their rise passes away.”

Does that make you wonder where we are as a “civilization” – certainly in terms of our civility?

Leighton Ford

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