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videl wrote

im probably more anticiv than prociv, but im confused about what people even mean when they talk of civilization. is civilization the same as industry? is it any sedentary living? does it require agriculture?
anyway, im definitely against civilization as it stands today. maybe a desirable civ is possible, but at the very least it would somehow have to keep the majority of the earth as a viable place to live in wilderness. so basically no expansion or pollution. otherwise it's just like the prison we have today. and historically civ cant help but grow and pollute.


ziq wrote (edited )

Civilization leads to industry, but it existed before industry. It requires agriculture, yes. It generally arises when agriculture replaces hunter-gathering on a wide scale. Small scale agriculture mixed with foraging and hunting isn't civilization. Civilization is basically city life - centralized, depends on imports, lots of humans closely packed together where they can be readily exploited for their labor.

It's not any sedentary living - people who live on or near the equator (where all ape's including humans thrive) have no real need to live nomadically because food is abundant all year round. Or at least it was until industry and agriculture bulldozed all the rainforest. But generally permanent settlements were unnecessary and counterproductive because prolonged human activity degraded the land without giving it a chance to recover.

EDIT: Sedentary - I guess I misunderstood what you meant. Before civilization, people worked far less than they do now, so it's not really an apt-comparison. We hunted and foraged for a few hours a week and spent the majority of our time engaged in creative pursuits. Today we labor all day for little reward and have very little leisure time. I'd say civilized people are far less sedentary than uncivilized people.


videl wrote

seems like what i would imagine as a desirable civilization wouldn't really be considered a civilization then


Pop wrote

From An Invitation to Desertion:

We indict the Civilization of Leviathan as a truly insane way of life predicated on the creation of States to enforce the enslavement of the many so that the parasitic few may acquire absurd wealth and influence. Such social relations are poisonous to all involved, being based on venality and coercion, ridiculous commodity fetishism, and the death of real human community through domination and atomization.

We denounce the world-eating mode of subsistence known as agriculture, with its effacement of ecosystems and their replacement with human domesticates, as a fundamental human error, one generative of mass extinction, soil exhaustion, war, and overpopulation.

We refuse the techno-industrial logic that treats the beautiful tapestry of the living world as just so much grist for the mill, as an unliving “resource” to be “developed” — that is, to be endlessly plundered and paved, extirpated of life, and replaced by parking lots, factory farms, waste dumps, extraction sites, and our apartment complexes and offices that fittingly resemble battery cages.

We reject the meaninglessness of modernity that has produced perhaps the most humiliated, dislocated, deskilled, distracted, lonely, unhealthy, and unloved people that have ever lived.

We champion anarchy: the freedom that comes from conscious self-ownership and voluntary relations of mutuality with our human and nonhuman kin in small, autarkic, face-to-face communities based in a regenerative relationship with the land.

We call for the application of knowledge gained from both traditional wisdom and modern ecology to the pursuit of modes of subsistence that are harmonious with the world that sustains us: foraging, hunting, fishing, and forest gardening.

We espouse a Neo-Luddism that consists of eschewing toxic and stupefying technologies, learning well-rounded skill sets for furnishing a living, and exploring and reviving traditional knowledge, skills, and forms of healing.

We embrace the vivacity of deeply ecologically harmonious ways of life and the sense of place, presence, and fulfillment that comes from nourishing and being nourished by an enveloping, living world full of consciousness and agency.


TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote

TLDR: civilization is a society organized around networks of cities that are not self-sufficient in food, depending on the farmlands around and/or import-export. Most of the time (always?) classes appear between the farmers and the food-eaters.

first paragraph here is a bit more "in depth" about it. I'm not anticiv so my definition may be missing stuff for them.


RedEmmaSpeaks wrote

I too, get more than just a little suspicious about discussions about civilization. Given that the term has so long been tied up with racist, jingoistic BS, it's hard to hold any discussions, because you can't entirely be sure what definition the other person is using. You have to dig deep into the surrounding text, really read between the lines, to understand what definition they're using, because without this understanding, these discussions are very tricky.

If we are defining civilization as "a group of people with a shared way of life/beliefs about the way the world works and the upbringing of children," then just about every group of people qualify, including tribes in the Amazon. If, however, our definition of civilization necessitates a massive hierarchy with vast disparities of wealth between various levels of society, then you understand why the Western World has long taken a dim view of indigenous groups.

Though when we talk about indigenous peoples, we must be careful to remember that they didn't have just one way of life; they had many. Some of them were nomadic, while others, the extent of their wanderings was they had a summer home and a winter home which they traveled between. Others were semi-nomadic, living in one place until the land is used up, then moving to some place else, coming back to original location a few generations later, after the land has had time to heal.

Indigenous tribes' lifestyles depended on where they lived. They were smart enough to know that a one-size-fits-all standard of living (where everyone has the same kind of houses, eats the same food, does the same kind of work), doesn't work. Really, the only way so-called Civilized Man has made it work is with the help of a state powered by vast infusions of nonrenewable resources.

Then again, I also find these discussions somewhat limiting, because they too often, seem to operate under the either/or mindset, where we can either have the cool tech of today or live like cavemen pounding on stuff with rocks. There's no reason we can't meet halfway, figure out how to marry the old and the new. I'm a firm believer in "Hold onto what works and jettison what doesn't."

In any case, people will still create art and take care of each other, regardless of what new civilization comes about.