What Civilization Is

Well, I’m about to be dragged off by my sister for parts unknown, so I’ll make this quick.

(Little sisters are the side effect of visiting home.)

The idea of ‘cooperation’ is an important one, and I’m going to beat on this idea for quite a few posts.

Think about the word ‘Civilization’ (or civilisation for those who don’t speak American). It means ‘the art of living in cities’.

What is it about living in a city that is such a challenge? Why do you need an art to live in one?

Could it be that… I won’t dump my trash in your yard if you don’t dump it in mine?

   …You won’t play the drums all night, if I don’t?

   …You won’t wake up the neighbors at 6 a.m. by screaming at the kids, if…

Okay, we still have some work to do, but you get the idea. We create a civilization by learning to COOPERATE.

We obey speed limits.

We vote.

We support our local educational institutions. 

We look out for the interests of our neighbors.

We create common cause with those around us – which means that we support governments and organizations (and neighbors).

It means that we see the ‘greater good’ as our own good.

We cooperate.

That’s the worrying part about the difficulty that Palestinians have in cooperating with each other. It means that they have difficulty in creating a civilization. It means that they have difficulty with the whole idea of ‘civilization’.

More than that, this difficulty with civilization makes relationships with those of us who have them difficult.

Civilized people will always have trouble with those who don’t understand what civilization is.