Episode:Civilization—Modern Development (Part 4)
September 13, 2016 (Paper 81:6.1-10)
Biologic evolution has proceeded ever upward, but much of cultural evolution went out from the Euphrates valley in successively weakened waves to enrich the civilizations of Asia, Europe, and eventually the world. Now, this civilization must be maintained and fostered, for there exist no new sources of culture.
Summary by Kermit
Commentary on Review
We noticed the connection of the final sentiment of section five and the title of section six, “…vain and fanciful dream of unstable and flighty human minds”, and The Maintenance of Civilization. How is it that we can maintain civilization with unstable and flighty human minds. Can this be the emergency to which we are continually referring on our broadcast? Whence cometh an unstable and flighty human mind? It comes from the ungrounded spiritual nature. Material consciousness does not beget an emergency. It requires spiritual consciousness to do that. True enough, without spiritual consciousness you don’t have progress, but you must have a balance between the material thinking and spiritual inspiration. To maintain civilization you must have leaders who have balanced minds. To be on the leading edge today set your sights on the quest for knowledge and wisdom. Base your relation to the cosmos on wisdom and pursue knowledge anew from that starting point top down. Prior to the 5th ER this was unknown.
81:6. The Maintenance of Civilization
In considering biologic evolution and cultural evolution remember that mankind is subjected to biologic evolution, and cultural evolution leading to genuine civilization is chosen. Biologic evolution uplifts and fosters well-constituted individuals to rise up and choose to pursue civilization. The whole of the Adamic potential went out from the Euphrates valley in waves, enriching the civilizations of Asia and Europe leading to its depletion at the source. We are soberly reminded that there are no new sources of culture with which to invigorate the slow progress of the evolution of civilization. Clearly, we are enjoined by the revelators to maintain and foster the civilization we have thus far attained. As has been stated numerous times on this broadcast, this emergency is not a spiritual one. Rather, is it bound up in the inappropriate application of spiritual inspiration in the outer life instead of the translation of genuine inner spiritual inspiration via philosophic coordination into right action in the domains of the external life.
Neither is this urgency of an existential nature. Light and life is our world’s assured destiny, how we get there will be matter of choice. The dark ages of an interregnum of wisdom is not something to which we would knowingly consign our future generations. That we are on the on the very brink of one of Urantia’s most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment speaks to this urgency. The potential for great creativity must also contain the potential for its opposite--destructivity.
The remainder of this paper consists of a collection of summary bullet points of fifteen factors out of which grew and on which are predicated the evolving civilization we must foster and maintain. On this broadcast we read and discussed the first three.
1. Natural circumstances. Climate, weather, numerous physical conditions plus natural resources play a crucial role in the development of culture and civilization. Race and climate were decisive in the rise of a superior culture in southwestern Asia. Most crucial was climate in forcing the Andites to adopt advanced techniques of making a living in the face of their decreasingly fertile lands. We discussed the importance of responding to pressures of natural circumstances as humans, not as fancy animals. We noted the climatic stabilization occurring around 6,000-5,000 B.C. as fortuitous for helping move civilization forward, as well as the favorable geography of North America in providing protection to the advancing civilization of the United States.
2. Capital goods. In reflecting on the title of this factor, capital meaning of the head, and the word good we recognize an association of spirit and material to emphasize that material wealth when used wisely redound to the good of mankind. Further discussion of the detrimental effects of poverty on the progress of civilization forced us to confront the role of the unrestrained reproduction of defective and degenerate stocks in its perpetuation.
We also noted the benefits of material wealth in allowing man the leisure essential to making advances in cultural civilization when coupled with ambition. Key to our discussion was the recognition of the tension in evolving man between the leisure, which contributes to ease seeking and excesses of self-gratification vs. the free time, used profitably for the benefit of future generations.
3. Scientific knowledge. Both terms in this factor meaning knowledge point to an emphasis on systematized knowledge. We spoke of the difference between the linear general recognition of the nature and laws governing the material world, and the geometric progress made when this recognition attains more exacting precision. As science progresses philosophy is stabilized through the elimination of error and religion is purified of crippling superstition.
Notes by Brad
- It takes spiritual consciousness to create an unstable and flighty human mind. You need spiritual consciousness, but not only spiritual consciousness—you need symmetry of soul.
- At the very least, our leaders need balanced minds.
- Civilization is a choice humans make. Biologic evolution isn't our choice, it is done to us.
- Yes, there is a civilizational emergency. But not in an existential sense; Urantia someday will get to light and life.
- The Most Highs will ensure that we survive a civilizational collapse should it happen.
- Still, ask yourself: do you want your children's children to go through an interregnum? To some extent, this is a choice in our free will hands (note that will is not self-assertion).
- Anytime a potential actualizes, it has a double-edged sword quality.
- More potential for creativity is matched by greater for potential for destructivity.
- The bigger they are the harder they fall.
- Our natural inclination will be drawn to the idea of open hunting grounds (the seemingly pleasant natural environs as expressed in Dances With Wolves, say)
- Capital goods: capital means "of the head", as in using human intellect. Good is a spirit unity word, suggesting that certain material objects can have a spiritual characteristic.
- Causes of poverty: see [71:3], p. 803.
- Essential and indispensable aren't synonyms. Essential means it's naturally an artifact of something (leisure is essential in progressing civilization)
- Leisure and ambition are somewhat demonized of late in western civilization.
- some greedy, immature players ruin it by luxuriating
- [64:1]: references the southern tropics being where there is luxuriating. Our indolent animal-origin nature is drawn to that, but animal-origin nature cannot grow civilization naturally.
- Dichotomous thinking (black and white) isn't wise thinking; a machine can operate in binary dichotomies. Can you be better than a machine—a human?
- All good things taken to extreme become bad.
- 15 items in section 6, that's a lot. Key thing to hold onto: keep reflecting on how the maintenance of civilization counts on these factors. If you lose sight of these factors, civilization can collapse.