What is 'Civilizational Continuity'?

Discussion in 'Military History & Strategy' started by AgNoStiC MuSliM, May 21, 2012.

Share This Page

  1. AgNoStiC MuSliM
    Offline

    AgNoStiC MuSliM PDF Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    17,604
    Ratings:
    +4 / 15,939 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Some general questions on this issue of 'civilizational continuity':

    -What constitutes 'civilizational continuity'?

    - Do increasing numbers of people speaking English better than their native tongues (which are themselves evolving) constitute 'continuity'?
    - Do increasing numbers of people wearing 'Western clothing' the majority of the time constitute 'continuity'?
    - Do increasing numbers of people leaning towards 'agnosticism, atheism' constitute continuity?

    The phrase is bandied about a lot, but what does it actually refer to?
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
  2. indushek
    Offline

    indushek SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,583
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,698 / -0
    Though i can't be completely accurate i have given it a thought and am putting them down here for everybody's scrutiny.

    Civilization will simply mean a group of people living not in tribal way like in towns or cities.

    To constitute a civilization one should have evolved lot of working structural entities like governing bodies, a working legal structure and a common identity to certain extent (i say so because diversity can be expected) educational base relevant to that time place and other relevant factors. Religion would be another feature as man always has sought support of the almighty.

    Continuity of this civilization means its sustainability in its form for a period to come, in layman language if the civilization can carry forward in its present state without much changes other than those needed like developments in educational base technology and other know how along with 'roll outs' or newer versions of ideas and practices in societal practices and beliefs (these should be developed within the society and not forced upon by external entities, reason the acceptance could be voluntary or forced and means break in the continuity of the idea of a continuity of the civilization) then it can be considered a continous civilization.

    Now why is it that this is important is that, certain amount of knowledge related to general thinking or educational ones or technological ones would be lost due to discontinuity and will have to be rediscovered. Examples are there for this when we here that certain knowledge may be in mathematics or medicine or some other thing was present in a particular civilization some 500 year
    back or so and has been brought to us again by some brilliant mind in present times.

    While the above explanation deals with various facets of a country we in present times recognize as the basic structures needed for constituting a country in its legal physical sense, the civilizations of yore were different in certain other features. They couldn't be restricted by the physical boundaries existing today due to addition of culture and tradition according to me.

    I mean if u think of greeks or romans or egyptians their civilizations continued for long time inspite of setbacks in their physical sense i.e. their kingdoms with physical boundaries. Religions brought even a more interesting mix to this curry of sorts.

    I will continue further (as the thoughts are flowing but have to be discussed upon to see their clarity) once the above points arediscussed.
  3. Joe Shearer
    Offline

    Joe Shearer PROFESSIONAL

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    Messages:
    6,964
    Ratings:
    +15 / 11,424 / -0
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    While I personally subscribe to your vision of a wider set of issues beyond those that we started with, it is necessary to point out, to be absolutely fair, that taking up these issues in detail are subtly beyond the scope of the present discussion. It might be appropriate - please consider this a MOST tentative suggestion - to start a separate thread to consider these wider vistas.
  4. Atanz
    Offline

    Atanz PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    403
    Ratings:
    +0 / 569 / -0
    Indushek:

    Your reply is simlar to what most Indian's give. It is unconvincing and contrived. 'Civilizational continuity' means nothing and forms part of the manufactured narrative by Indian's to grab everything that has happened in South Asia as exclusive or first priority right of the Indian Republic.

    Take the examples of Mohenjo Daro or Harrapa. The former is in Sindh and the latter is in Punjab. There are people here who will have us believe that a Malayalam speaker from South India has more claim on Mohenjo Daro than a native Sindhi.

    Or that a Assamese has more of a claim on Harrapa then a Punjabi. All because they happen to be citizens of the Indian Republic. Even this is based on the generic term India. A word that was used by outsiders to refer to South Asia. The locals did not know or go about feeling or being part of this 'India'.

    This term India really gained currency with the arrival of the British and their conquest of various kingdoms into a united colony under the British flag called British India. Are people aware that Burma was also part of this British India?

    I have mentioned before that there appears to be a organized attempt to build up a alternate reality by Indian's. In this scheme everything in the past has to be re-fashioned. A reconstruction of the pasty to fit into modern Indian nationalism and add a halo to the brand 'India'.

    This reconstruction knows no bounds, even physical geography has to be modified to help out with this revisionist project. Even scripture is marshalled to give depth to the claims made. I find it this 'Saraswati' amusing. There is so much literature on this myth that to the novice it would appear as a fact that there was a Saraswati and that it's path is known.

    A example of this would be the map given above by Rig Vedic in post #321. It is possible that Gaggar- Hakra was a periennial river in the past and that it flowed into the Sutlej just past Bahawalpur in Pakistan. However there is absolutly nothing to suggest that the river flowed south parallel to the present Indus.

    If that were the case then how did Mohenjo Daro have access to water? The route shown on the map provided by Rig Vedic has this supposed Saraswati almost 50 miles east of Mohenjo Daro. Such a large town would have needed ample supplies of water and farmers would also require water. Sindh is a dry land and there is nothing to suggest that it was any differant in the past.

    The map shows lots of dots. What are these? Are these the odd fragments of pottery? There are 3 or 4 sites of value on the map. These would be Mohenjo Daro, Harrapa, Mehr Garh in Pakistan and Lothal. The rest of the dots are part of the contrived effort to beef up the Indian claim on Mohenjo Daro/Harrapa.

    What's next? A twig found in Madhya Pradesh and it will be just a twig until you add the prefix Harrapan. Get hold of a unemployed third rate European archealogist to do some digs around the twig discovery, write few books. Next the internet will be full of 'IVC in Madhya Pradesh' all using the same dodgy referance.

    Reminds me of the weeks before Iraq war. Some lowly Iraqi conscript had done a runner from Saddam Hussein's army. British MI5 had questioned him and a routine report was filed. It was one amongst 1,000s gathering dust until somebody at No.10 Downing Street read the report.. The conscript had said that Saddam had nukes that could be armed and ready to fire on London within hours of orders being given.

    That report was leaked to the media. The tabloids went into overdrive. Headlines read 'Saddam could hit London within hours'. This snowballed and even BBC carried reports until there was such a momentum that Blair felt he now had the support for war. In all this frenzy nobody dared to ask where was the source of all this? A bloody conscript?
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. indushek
    Offline

    indushek SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,583
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,698 / -0
    Dear Atanz

    Please let me know if u have gone through my entire post? i would like to bring to your notice this part of my post

    "I will continue further (as the thoughts are flowing but have to be discussed upon to see their clarity) once the above points are discussed."

    Firstly if u concentrate upon my post nowhere have i talked of Indian or IVC or Harappa topics. The reason i talked of Egyptian or Roman or Greek civilizations was because they were largely homogeneous in nature and our (plz mind i say "ours" as u say u want to claim the ancient Indian traditions and culture and i am fine with that) civi is heterogeneous with lot of mixes thrown in.

    The topic of Civilizational continuity is a seperate topic to our present thread. It seems that you are bent on only one thing to keep harping on how Indians are robbing you of this identity. Please read before replying.
  6. Rig Vedic
    Offline

    Rig Vedic SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,221
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,202 / -0
    Why do you assume that the Indus was not flowing also.

    Remember the glaciers of the glacial maximum were melting off, there was a lot more water flowing than there is today.

    At the same time sea levels were also rising. There are many ruins under the sea that have recently been discovered - near Dwaraka in Gujarat, and also off the coast of Tamil Nadu. These may have been contemporaneous with Mohenjodaro etc.

    If the values and thoughts of the ancient Greeks, as described in the Iliad etc continue to influence the thoughts of Europeans today, that is civilizational continuity.

    Similarly, if the thoughts in the Vedas and Upanishads continue to influence Indians today, that is also civilizational continuity.
  7. LaBong
    Offline

    LaBong ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Messages:
    8,046
    Ratings:
    +1 / 7,532 / -0
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    There is off course civilization continuity, may be not as tightly coupled as some claim to be. Decline of IVC and subsequent rise of Ganges based Vedic Civilization, the Mahajapads, the continuous eastward migration of political center in vedic age which will rest at Pataliputra in time of Mouryas, and even more East at time of Pala. The culture, language, the art of living being continued and enhanced. That's how an Assamese or a Bengali can lay claim on IVC.

    Just because Turks are now living in Anatolia, they can't claim the heritage of Hectors and Helens, do they?

    A Pushtun living in Pakistani Punjab hasn't inherited IVC.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  8. AgNoStiC MuSliM
    Offline

    AgNoStiC MuSliM PDF Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    17,604
    Ratings:
    +4 / 15,939 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Then by extension, would the people influenced by the 'values, principles and guidelines of early Islamic society' (i.e the Quran) not be considered part of a 'Islamic Civilization', and, therefore, are you not in fact justifying the argument of 'Caliphate' advanced by some Muslims?
  9. CaptainJackSparrow
    Offline

    CaptainJackSparrow SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,812
    Ratings:
    +0 / 2,856 / -0
    It depends on how you define a civilization,

    IMO, a civilisation is defined by a lot of things such as:

    eating habits

    clothing

    ancestry

    languages/dialects

    written script

    mythology

    legend

    anecdotes

    location

    IMO, if it is clear that most of these things, even if not all, have remained more or less unchanged or at least retained some major elements of the earlier generations who lived may be even thousands of years ago, you can safely call it a continuing civilisation.

    Changes might be there but some semblance of similarity in most cultural aspects will be obvious.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  10. AgNoStiC MuSliM
    Offline

    AgNoStiC MuSliM PDF Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    17,604
    Ratings:
    +4 / 15,939 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    But how do you define 'culture, language and the art of living', as practiced by the people in the regions you mentioned, to be an 'exclusive continuation' of the 'culture, language and art of living' practiced by the IVC?

    Again, does a shift to agnosticism/atheism, English as a primary language, Western dress and customs, signify a dilution of the aforementioned 'culture, language and art of living'?

    Will the residents of the regions you mentioned soon be considered 'a continuation of Western Civilization' (instead of the Vedic Civilization) because they are 'agnostic/atheists, get drunk at pubs, eat meat or whatever the feel like, practice liberal social values'?

    That said, why would we want to claim that any particular civilization has ownership of values (liberal social values) that appear to be common sense to many people?
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. Rig Vedic
    Offline

    Rig Vedic SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,221
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,202 / -0
    All of that plus continuity in philosophy, classical music and other arts, knowledge systems (e.g. the Ayurveda system of medicine).
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  12. LaBong
    Offline

    LaBong ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Messages:
    8,046
    Ratings:
    +1 / 7,532 / -0
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    That's a wrong way of seeing it. You're comparing between two extreme end of a long and tangled thread and deciding that the thread is snapped somewhere as the two ends don't meet.

    Consider it as a long line where, to name a few - IVC, Cemetery H culture, Gandhara Grave Culture, Early Vedic period, Late Vedic period, Mahajapadas, Mouryas, Guptas, Palas, Sultanate, Mughals, British India, Republic of Indian/Islamic Republic of Pakistan etc are points which make the line. Now the correct way of judging continuity would be to compare each adjacent points and see if there is any sudden break in Civilizational Continuity.

    Shifting to agnosticism/atheism might be considered break in continuity in case of Abrahamic religions, but Indian religions haven't been organized as such and atheism/agnosticism have always been part of Indian philosophy. You might as well look up Cārvāka and other materialistic movements such as Buddhism.

    English never is a primary language. It's the language of the court, just as once Sanskrit was while the mass spoke Prakrit(another example is Persian -- Hindustani). There was time when British royalty preferred to speak French, did that break the continuity of Britain's history?

    I have replied to most of the above points. They will only be considered as added values. Just as foreign loan words enhance the indigenous language, but don't make it alien.

    That I never claimed, all civilizations have been liberal at some point of time and sometimes they shunned all changes.
    • Thanks Thanks x 9
  13. Rig Vedic
    Offline

    Rig Vedic SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,221
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,202 / -0
    Well if it floats somebody's boat, who are we to stop them?

    But people should have the freedom to critique these 'values, principles and guidelines of early Islamic society'.

    If they start saying that their values require them to silence people who disagree with them, then we need to deal with them with the utmost ruthlessness.
  14. KS
    Offline

    KS ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    12,653
    Ratings:
    +0 / 13,214 / -0
    IMO civilizational continuity has more to do with one's state of mind than anything else.



    Well said.
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  15. AgNoStiC MuSliM
    Offline

    AgNoStiC MuSliM PDF Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    17,604
    Ratings:
    +4 / 15,939 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    That does not make sense - an acceptance of agnosticism and especially atheism by definition would imply the lack of 'religion' - your argument would therefore mean that the majority of the Vedic civilization were 'agnostics or atheists' ... in which case they were not 'Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims', and therefore the religions practiced by the majority of the people in South Asia today indicate a 'lack of civilizational continuity' based on the metric of religion/faith.
    If a significant portion of the residents of Britain had chosen to switch to using the French language, would that not imply the lack of continuity in one of the 'metrics for civilizational continuity' you mentioned?

    Will you invent a 'scale' and argue that X% of people speaking Y language which is Z% similar to the language spoken by a civilization thousands of years ago implies 'civilizational continuity'?
    If the 'values' I mentioned are 'added values', then what constitutes 'CORE values'?

    What specifically makes one set of people a continuation of an ancient civilization, and not another?
    I was merely making a point, not attributing that argument to you.

    What on earth does 'state of mind' mean?

    How do you determine a peoples 'state of mind' and whether or not that 'state of mind' represents, or does not represent, a continuation of an older civilization?
    • Thanks Thanks x 1