Conditions Necessary for Creating an Advanced Civilization
By Richard Kieninger
Five basic conditions must exist for a healthy civilization to be created, and these must be adhered to throughout the growth and maintenance of that civilization. If any one of these conditions is lacking, the civilization is doomed.
Belief in A Supreme Being
The foremost of these conditions is religious faith in a Supreme Being. When men first conceived the idea of Gods more powerful, more worthy, more righteous, and more exalted than themselves, an upward pull began to influence their lives. It is a psychological fact that we tend to become like the object we adore. If we continually and persistently call to mind the attributes and personification of goodness through worship of a Greater Being, we tend to accept rules for our own conduct as exemplified in those who are just, powerful, loving, generous and permanent. The higher the ideals that men ascribe to their view of God, the higher their civilization is capable of rising.
From man’s contemplation of the idealism of his Supreme Being has sprung his moral ideals and ethical standards. In the beginning, man’s ideals were not very high. Gods were subject to the passion of men because men knew of nothing higher or better. As they persistently directed minds and hearts towards the best that they knew, their comprehension and idealization of God grew, which in turn drew them to even higher ideals. (And teachers could then come to instruct and uplift men even higher.)
Until the understanding that dishonesty, falsehood, coveting, stealing, killing and adultery are wrong is accepted and practiced by the greater portion of a people, civilization is impossible. No civilization has ever become great until its ethical ideals have raised its people above savagery and have started the development of beauty and refinement. When these ethical ideals which are inspired and sustained by allegiance to examples of Greater Beings no longer claim the attention of the people, their civilization begins to disintegrate.
Money of Intrinsic Value
A second condition upon which civilizations must be founded is trusted money of intrinsic value that will not lose its purchasing power. Every civilization grew only on the basis of sound money in which people had confidence; money that did not progressively lose its value; money for which people were willing to work long and hard; money which people saved with confidence, knowing it would make their future easier and more secure. Only money with its own intrinsic value will induce them to work hard, live frugally and save persistently. This gives rise to capital accumulation, which always marks a developing civilization. Without capital, there can be no financing of industry, architecture, defense, science, education and the arts.
Most of the civilizations that declined in the past were beset by financial woes usually brought about by the extravagance of their rulers first and then by the people as a consequence. The governments tried to create more money, and the end result was inflation, which is the increase of money beyond the goods its value is based on.
When people see that the purchasing power of their money is declining, the incentive to save is gone. If they cannot get ahead by careful living, long-term saving, and hard work, they go for the short-term opportunity, fearing that the money should be spent while it still has value.
Many virtues flow from sound money—among them honesty and steady, long-term effort. Periods of unsound money lead to moral degradation and economic hard times. Sound money has been a basis of every successful civilization.
Monogamous, Stable Relationships
A third condition for the rise of civilizations is sexual integrity. Professor J. D. Unwin of Cambridge University made an exhaustive study of 80 civilizations ranging over a period of 4,000 years. He concluded: “Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that they cannot do both for more than one generation.” The whole human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming truly civilized unless it practiced monogamy, nor is there an example of a group retaining its culture after it had succumbed to less-disciplined sexual customs.
Sexual integrity produces sound homes which nurture emotionally balanced children to carry on the culture. Children thrive best in the secure continuity provided by their mother and father remaining in a happy relationship with each other. The example of loving concern between parents provides psychological growth in their children. Sexual relations between a man and woman is a powerful binder that should not be divided between multiple partners, because that weakens the primary bond. Strong families are best able to produce sound future citizens. Patriotism is one’s concern for the larger community and is but an extension of one’s love for family.
Defense of the Nation
The fourth condition for the rise of a civilization is the will to survive and a willingness to fight when necessary for the security of the group. When a society’s men and women shrink from defending themselves because they might be hurt or killed, that has always been the death knell of that society. Many ancient civilizations, fat and luxury loving, paid tribute or gave hostages instead of fighting. Their appeasement of their enemies was the beginning of the end for them.
While it may not be beneficial to any civilization to have the principal childrearers (mothers) involved in combat or training for combat, all citizens should be trained as a skilled force in order to be prepared for any military or civil emergency.
Citizens not only have a right but also a responsibility to maintain arms in their homes to guarantee their self-protection against external or internal threats. When a nation is deprived of this internal defense against corrupt police or a punitive military, it is delivered into bondage. Men must use every means at their disposal if it becomes necessary to defend their lives and their political and intellectual freedom. To fail to do so is to surrender to the forces of evil.
The long journey to acquire wisdom requires the freedom to explore, experiment and experience. This must be done on both the individual and group levels. When one is forbidden by laws, customs or any degree of enslavement, then to that extent self-knowledge is denied. We are all restricted by the current mode of religion and government, whether despotic or liberal. Most of us are persuaded to accept many beliefs and information as the ultimate truth; but until one can freely and personally test such beliefs, they are not knowledge.
There are sensible limits on freedom. Although we can do anything we want, there are practical penalties and responses from others around us. Common Law is based on the premise that you are free to do anything so long as you do not injure another person, his property or his reputation. This applies to actions by governments, groups and individuals. Such actions properly require compensation from the injurer to the injured party and is also in line with the inescapable law of karma. That Natural Law assures that whatever you do to or for another person, you have equally done to or for yourself in the future. When a man has learned that from observation and experience, he governs himself harmlessly and helpfully.
The principal area where total freedom is essential is philosophical inquiry. Mentation is the key to soul growth and presumably does not injure one’s fellow man. Even a slave can still think his private thoughts, but there are tyrants who would control everyone’s thoughts. Their motto is, “Believe my way or die,” be they priest or king. Freedom of thought leads to the development of inventions and results in better ways of living. Enforced stagnation of thought does not allow a flourishing civilization. It would seem that God gave us Mind to find our way to Him and perceive Him in His fullness. Great Civilizations are noted for their original thinkers, and they are the most enduring.