History and its Relationship with Culture, Education, Language and Communication
History is related to culture; it is the memory of living yesterdays and the promise of predictable tomorrows. We live and think in the realm of history. We must study history because we are human beings, we possess a memory; we function by using our own experience, as well as experience of others.
History deals with everything that has happened to humans. History deals with people both humanistically and scientifically. History is related to language and communication.
Everyone is a product of his/her society. Every society is a product of its past. To know the past and that of other people is to know yourself. Bertrand Russell, the great English philosopher, wrote:
"History is invaluable in increasing our knowledge of human nature, because it shows how people may be expected to behave in new situations. Many prominent men and women are completely ordinary in character, and only exceptional in their circumstances."
History is also related to cultural values. It can be a cure for prejudice and provincialism. The study of history used to be thought of as training in patriotism and national loyalties. There is nothing wrong with healthy patriotic pride, but there is something pathological about parochialism, self-righteousness and blind nationalism. These types of social diseases have twice led to world wars in the 20th century. Learning that your own national way of doing things is not the only way (and certainly not the norm for other people) and learning that the behavior of other people in other times and places is not particularly bad or unworkable because it is old or foreign is an essential revelation for any person who pretends to be educated.
There is a greater loyalty than national loyalty - a loyalty to mankind, to human improvement, international understanding and general enlightenment. To exploit history as nationalistic propaganda is a form of intellectual prostitution. We will not engage in such illegal activity. History is the collective experience of mankind, and as such it teaches us lessons that may help us avoid in the future some of the mistakes we have made in the past. That requires thinking properly about the past, present and future.
History shares with the other liberating arts, such as literature, philosophy or mathematics, the virtue of being able to train us to think. This does not mean necessarily training to think about particular things, but rather training in the process of thinking in general. A trained mind, one that is flexible and perceptive with respect to whatever new problem confronts it, is the most practical tool imaginable. History is a mind-training discipline and has a practicality that is supreme. No other subject pulls together all of human experience so broadly - and thus teaches synthetic thinking - and no other subject relates the many parts of this experience to each other - and thus teaches analytic thinking.
Today more than ever we will have to use our wits and analytic power, if the human species is to survive. The modern world in which we live is revolutionary. The profound contradictions that we confront everyday are not the result of mere perversity or simple folly. They are due to the tremendous developments in science and technology. These have led to far more rapid and radical change than any previous society has known. Our society has not been prepared to deal with these changes. We suffer from a variety of cultural gaps. We can send a man to the moon, but we cannot eliminate simple poverty, malnutrition and slum housing - not to mention learning to live with our fellow human beings whose skin might have a different color.
Because the paradoxes of our age are so violent, people have been violently oversimplifying its issues. On the one hand, many political and business leaders are still celebrating the triumphs of technology, science and free enterprise as if there were nothing fundamentally wrong with our civilization, and the world depressions and world wars were unfortunate accidents.
Perhaps, you have all heard that famous quotation by the American philosopher George Santayana: Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
We could, perhaps, revise that by saying, Those who do not remember the past are condemned. Our only hope of survival as sane human beings in a sane society is to bet on the education history can give us.
Only the arrogant can believe that any one nation has enough wit and virtue to rule the world. Ultimately then the real question is whether the ideal values of Western civilization are more vital than they have appeared to be in recent times. I can only believe that, in spite of all the failures, problems and wars that have troubled this civilization over the centuries, these ideal values deserve to live.
The supreme gift of the West to mankind is that it has promoted the sentiment of equality and realized a measure of actual equality, political, economic, and social. It has thereby laid the only possible basis for a world federation, or "one world" or the "global village" - as current usage will have it. The study of history then may justify itself simply as an act of piety that deepens and widens our aesthetic, spiritual and essentially philosophical sense of continuity and community.
There are many ‘histories’ that people study, e.g. History of Language (e.g., History of English Language, History of French Language, etc.), History of Medicine, History of Art (e.g. History of Western European Art), History of Science, History of Earth, History of Civilization, History of Western Civilization, History of Religion, Religion, History of a Country (e.g., History of Norway, History of Denmark, History of Greece, History of Finland, History of Latvia, etc), etc. All of these histories are valuable.
First, we briefly look through the basic facts of History of Western Civilization in order to better understand present-day Western society. Then we will concentrate on present-day traditions, cultures, languages, lifestyles, etiquette, thinking, as well as political, economic and social values.
A Brief History of Western Civilization
Before we go deeper into the discussions about Western Civilization we must study the basic terms.
Explanation of Basic Terms
Latin words which are commonly used in English
AD – Annum Domino (=the years of God)
BC – Before Christ (=before the birth of Jesus Christ)
i.e. – id est (=that is)
e.g. – exemplae gratia (=beautiful, gracious examples)
etc. – et cetera (=and so on)
NB – Nota Bene (=Remember Well, Note It)
Etymology (=history and development of the word; Greek etumon=’true sense of a word’).
What is Language?
What is Speech?
What is Culture?
One way of thinking about culture is to contrast it with nature. Nature refers to what is born and grows organically (from the Latin nascere: to be born); culture refers to what has been grown and groomed (from the Latin colere: to cultivate). There are many different definitions of culture.
Different definitions of culture reflect different theories for understanding, or criteria for valuing, human activity.
A 2002 document from the United Nations agency UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) states that culture is the "set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs".
In most cases we will keep to the above definition in our discussions of culture.
Please study the following web page about culture:
What is Civilization?
Civilisation has a variety of meanings related to human society. The term comes from the Latin civis, meaning "citizen" or "townsman."
1. In a technical sense, a civilization is a complex society in which many of the people live in cities and get their food from agriculture, as distinguished from band and tribal societies in which people live in small settlements or nomadic groups and make their subsistence by hunting, or working small horticultural gardens. When used in this sense, civilization is an exclusive term, applied to some human groups and not others.
2. In a broader sense, civilization often can refer to any distinct society, whether complex and city-dwelling, or simple and tribal. This definition is often perceived as less exclusive and ethnocentric than the first. In this sense civilization is nearly synonymous with culture.
3. Civilization can sometimes refer to human society as a whole, as in "A nuclear war would wipe out Civilization" or "I'm glad to be safely back in Civilization after being lost in the wilderness for 3 weeks." Additionally, it is used in this sense to refer to the potential global civilization.
4. Civilization can also mean a standard of behavior, similar to etiquette. "Civilized" behavior is contrasted with "barbaric" or crude behavior. In this sense, civilization implies sophistication and refinement.
5. Another use of civilization combines the first and fourth meanings of the word, implying that a complex society is naturally superior to less complex societies. This point of view is associated with racism and imperialism; powerful societies have often believed it was their right to "civilize," or culturally dominate, weaker ones ("barbarians"). Please find more information online about barbarians.
In the technical sense, a civilization is a complex society. It is distinguished from simpler societies but is not considered superior to them. Everyone lives in a society and a culture, but not everyone lives in a civilization. In general, civilizations share the following traits:
By this definition, some societies, like
The first civilization was that of the Sumerians in an ancient country of southern
"Civilization" can also describe the culture of a complex society, not just the society itself. Every society, civilization or not, has a specific set of ideas and customs, and a certain set of items and arts, that make it unique. Civilizations have even more intricate cultures, including literature, professional art, architecture, organized religion, and complex customs associated with the elite. The intricate culture associated with civilization has a tendency to spread to and influence other cultures, sometimes assimilating them into the civilization. A classic example is Chinese civilization and its influence on
So many civilizations are actually large cultural spheres containing many nations and regions. The civilization in which someone lives is that person's broadest cultural identity. A female of African descent living in the
The history of Western Civilization started in Europe
In Greek mythology there are two primary legends regarding Europa, the woman for whom the continent of
According to the principal figure of ancient Greek literature; the first poet Homer, Europa was a Phoenician princess (Phoenicia is present-day Syria and Lebanon ) who was abducted by a bull-shaped Zeus and taken to the island of Crete, an island of southeast Greece in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Its Minoan civilization, centered at the city of
For Homer, Europa was a mythological queen of
By 1250 B.C. the Phoenicians were well established as the navigators and traders of the Mediterranean world .Their greatest contribution to Western civilization, however, was the development of a standardized phonetic alphabet, which was a great improvement over the more ambiguous cuneiform and hieroglyphic. The Phoenician alphabet served as a basis for the Greek alphabet and was a key factor in the development of Greek literature. They developed an alphabet that was eventually adapted by the Greeks and Romans into the alphabet used in writing English. In the Phoenicians' alphabet, the marks stand for individual sounds rather than for whole words or syllables, as in Egyptian hieroglyphics (a system of writing in which pictorial symbols are used to represent meaning or sounds or a combination of meaning and sound).
In every aspect, Europa cannot be separated from the sacred bull, which had been worshipped in Europa's homeland. The bull and the cow were sacred in Old Europe too and cattle myths survived in Irish Gaelic myth: In some Christian religions Nativity scenes are assembled at Christmas time (Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus). Most of them show a bull or an ox near baby Jesus [Jesus was born: 5 B.C., birthplace:
Brief History of
1. Stone Age
Paleolithic period or Old Stone Age [in Ancient Greek palai= ‘long ago’, lithos=’stone’, or Old Stone Age] was the earliest period of human development and the longest phase of mankind's history. In fact, it is the cultural period of the Stone Age beginning with the earliest chipped stone tools, about 750,000 years ago, until the beginning of the Mesolithic Age, about 15,000 years ago. By far the most outstanding feature of the Paleolithic period was the evolution of the human species from an apelike creature, or near human, to true Homo sapiens. This development was exceedingly slow and continued through the three successive divisions of the period, the Lower, Middle, and Upper Paleolithic. The most abundant remains of Paleolithic cultures are a variety of stone tools whose distinct characteristics provide the basis for a system of classification containing several tool making traditions or industries.
Mesolithic period or Middle Stone Age [Greek mesos=’middle’, or Middle Stone Age] period in human development between the end of the Paleolithic and the beginning of the Neolithic Period. It began with the end of the last glacial period over 10,000 years ago and evolved into the Neolithic period; this change involved the gradual domestication of plants and animals and the formation of settled communities at various times and places. While Mesolithic cultures lasted in
Neolithic period or New Stone Age [Greek neos=’new’, lithos=’stone’, or "New Stone Age"]. The term neolithic is used, especially in archaeology and anthropology, to designate a stage of cultural evolution or technological development characterized by the use of stone tools, the existence of settled villages largely dependent on domesticated plants and animals, and the presence of such crafts as pottery and weaving. The time period and cultural content indicated by the term varies with the geographic location of the culture considered and with the particular criteria used by the individual scientist. The domestication of plants and animals usually distinguishes Neolithic culture from earlier Paleolithic or Mesolithic hunting, fishing, and food-gathering cultures. The Mesolithic period in several areas shows a gradual transition from a food-collecting to a food-producing culture. The termination of the Neolithic period is marked by such innovations as the rise of urban civilization or the introduction of metal tools or writing. Again, the criteria vary with each case. The earliest known development of Neolithic culture was in
Today ‘stone age’ is sometimes used as slang. It can mean an extremely backward or primitive era or state: back in the Stone Age of television broadcasting.
2. Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period in a civilization’s development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. It was a period of history from roughly 4000 b.c. to the onset of the Iron Age. During the Bronze Age, people learned to make bronze tools. In the Bronze Age in
3. Iron Age
The Iron Age was the period in the development of industry that began with the general use of iron and continued into modern times. In was preceded by the Bronze Age. It did not begin in the
1. Have you ever wondered what makes a good civilization? Working as individuals or in small groups, research the ancient civilizations of
2. As you research the ancient cultures of
3. Please discuss the following aspects of civilization.