The Evolution of Civilizations eBook ↠ An Introduction to Historical Analysis Read Ê reflectionslisburnltd

text è An Introduction to Historical Analysis Ô Carroll Quigley

Carroll uigley was a legendary teacher at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service His course on the history of civilization was extraordinary in its scope and in its impact on studentsLike the course The Evolution of Civilizations is a comprehensive and perceptive look at the factors behind the rise and fall of civilizations uigley examines the appl The copy I own of this is a 1979 reprint but I read most of the materials from earlier editions while I was taking a class with uigley in 1974 not his legendary could on Evolution of Civilizations but a related course on Science Christianity and the Western Intellectual Tradition This book along with uigley's other work on the 20th century was my first exposure to someone presenting a broad macroscopic and interpretive view of history In this book the focal point is civilizations about a broad a unit as you can get What is most memorable to me was the introduction of a framework for analyzing history uigley's focuses on six sometimes seven categories into which most of the dynamics of history can be fit and analyzed military political economic social religious and intellectual Psychological was also included in some versions Showing the value of frameworks for structuring one's thinking was a very powerful gift to give to young inuisitive undergraduates uigley sometimes foster believers or adherents not what he would have wanted I never felt that way Some of his generalizations are uestionable to me and I have spent a good part of my subseuent education figuring out what was reasonable and what was unreaasonable in what he taught us That is not a bad legacy to leave to studentsuigley should have received a broader audience and he did in part once one of his former students Bill Clinton became POTUS However uigley also got picked up by some conservative advocacy groups which I think hurt his reputation among mainstream historians

text The Evolution of Civilizations

The Evolution of Civilizations An Introduction to Historical AnalysisZation as “a producing society with an instrument of expansion” A civilization’s decline is not inevitable but occurs when its instrument of expansion is transformed into an institution that is when social arrangements that meet real social needs are transformed into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs This book was brilliant in many different ways Its notions of why societies succeed and fail rings very true As does its criticisms of the current analysis of the study of history The brilliance of this book is self evident and I highly recommend you read it however there are several issues with the author's analysis His analysis of Classical Civilization is especially perceptive 1He views all civilizational development as self contained as opposed to viewing it as based upon military and political events He views the Carthaginian Aztec and Inca civilizations as destroyed by their own decadence rather than foreigners with much better militaries seizing power killing their ruling classes and settling large numbers of foreigners in which will kill even a healthy civilization2He ignores political effects inside the civilizations He views the West's success as dependent upon Christianity and its philosophic ideals rather than the permanent state of military competition between the European states and between European classes which seems to be the far likely alternative He tries far too hard to fit Europe into his theory creating artificial boundaries between eras of growth and decay I understand viewing the 14th century as a period of decay but the 18th The 18th century was an era of enormous technological intellectual and social progress Also the 20th century was eually an era of immense progress in many fields rather than an era of decay in anything except religion art and philosophy 3His primary examples are from ancient history in which our records are so poor that people can express whatever sentiment they want onto them When Enlightenment philosophers wanted to say government was bad they made obscure tribal peoples without government into saints while ignoring they all actually had the vices of civilization like slavery sexism war and genocide Similar processes took place when the post WW2 archaeologists tried to claim the Mayans or Sumerians were peaceful intellectual societies what they wanted only to discover literal genocide lists and rooms filled with corpses uiggley uses predominantly obscure civilizations like the Canaanites Minoans and Sumerians of which we know practically nothing so he can gerrymander the evidence into fitting his theory I see no evidence of social decline in the either Canaanite or Minoan society before they were conuered by alien societies 4Worst of all this theory in no way accounts for Asian civilizations like China and India that have survived stably and with relatively few changes for 3500 years These have seen nothing like the cycles uiggley describes and he gives this no explanationI think uiggley's theory has application in theory but he overemphasizes its actual descriptive ability I think it is overly multi stepped rather than like a choose your own adventure with multiple choices that allow different results If Roman Civilization had been able to reform in Caesar's time which seems plausible it would break uiggley's model

Carroll Quigley Ô An Introduction to Historical Analysis book

The Evolution of Civilizations eBook ↠ An Introduction to Historical Analysis Read Ê reflectionslisburnltd Á Carroll uigley was a legendary teacher at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service His course on the history of civilization was extraordinary in its scoIcation of scientific method to the social sciences then establishes his historical hypotheses He poses a division of culture into six levels from the abstract to the concrete He then tests those hypotheses by a detailed analysis of five major civilizations the Mesopotamian the Canaanite the Minoan the classical and the Westernuigley defines a civili In this book Professor Carroll uigley presents his theory of how civilizations rise and fall and applies the scientific method to analyzing the process of social change in civilizations In doing so he also establishes some analytic tools to assist in this task These are needed to help historians determine the most fruitful historical facts to investigate and assemble; he asserts that authors select topics largely by accident or rehash old controversies that are often not central to a true understanding of what is importantuigley defines a civilization as “a producing society with an instrument of expansion” and says that while a civilization’s decline is not inevitable it occurs when this instrument of expansion is transformed into an institution An “instrument” is a social arrangement that meets real social needs while an “institution” chiefly comes to serve its own purposes eg justifying its own continuation or pursuing its own needs regardless of real social needsuigley believes that Man is a product mostly of “nurture” rather than “nature” in that the type of human one becomes depends on the personalities of those he is exposed to while growing In this way each society has certain patterns of action belief and thought that continue across the generations changing only slightly over timeCulture is the difference between Man and animal and is adaptive and persistent Animals unable to adapt to environmental changes perish but since Man has the cushion of culture between himself and the environment only the culture perishes if he cannot adaptuigley divides culture into 6 levels corresponding to 6 basic human needs Those levels are 1 Intellectual; 2 Religious; 3 Social; 4 Economic; 5 Political; 6 Military The 6 corresponding human needs are respectively the need 1 for understanding; 2 for psychological certainty; 3 for companionship; 4 for material wealth; 5 for the organization of interpersonal power relationships; 6 for group security To satisfy these needs each level develops social organizations These are called instruments as long as they achieve their purpose with relative effectiveness They tend over time to become institutions taking on lives and purposes of their own distinct from their original purposes One important rule of history is that all social instruments tend to become institutions; he analyzes the reasons for this and for what can happen when such an institution becomes too ineffective at meeting society’s needsThe process of evolution of civilizations is analyzed The basic template consists of 7 stages through which it rises while it has an instrument of expansion and begins to decline as that instrument turns into an institution These 7 stages of historical change are Mixture Gestation Expansion Age of Conflict Universal Empire Decay InvasionSociety possesses an instrument of expansion if it is organized such that 3 things are true 1 It has an incentive to invent new ways of doing things 2 Somewhere in society there is an accumulation of surplus 3 The surplus is applied to pay for or utilize those inventionsAn interesting chapter 6 follows where uigley describes the development of early civilizations It talks about the ice ages the migrations of the prehistoric Neolithic Garden cultures the Neanderthal and the various Homo Sapiens groups and discusses how and when they interacted and how that interaction birthed the later civilizations we know of today This is a fascinating chapter but it was not clear whether what uigley says is completely supported by the archaeological record or is just his own hypothesisuigley’s discussion here and in all subseuent chapters is limited geographically to the area of the world he labels “the Northwest uadrant” This area is roughly bounded by the Atlantic Ocean the Arctic Ocean the longitude passing through the Urals and a latitude corresponding to the northern part of the Sahara DesertThe remaining chapters of the book walk through each of the significant civilizations birthed in the Northwest uadrant since prehistoric time He uses each of these to illustrate the theory and the use of tools laid out in Chapters 1 through 5 These civilizations are Mesopotamian Canaanite Minoan Classical Greece Rome together in this category and finally Western Each civilization in turn gets and detailed in its treatment no doubt due to the fact that we know about the recent civilizations The chapter on Western Civilization is the most extensive and complex one with civilization re entering expansion three times rather than progressing from an Age of Conflict to Universal EmpireIn the later parts of the book uigley periodically refers to the increasing importance of a money economy in civilization and the way in which financial authorities gained influence This no doubt sets the stage for a much complex handling of this topic in his famous work “Tragedy and Hope”OBSERVATIONS1 There is extensive discussion in the section on Classical Civilization about the culture It is clear that uigley is intimately familiar with classical texts philosophies and ideas and this is probably the single most challenging area of his text in terms of getting the most out of it Some background in these Classical topics while not essential would pay the informed reader dividends This is also true to a lesser extent regarding the chapter on Western Civilization2 uigley clearly admires Minoan Civilization which he describes as “peaceful and matriarchal It was the first that was not founded in an alluvial river valley It had no formal religion and no temples Its instrument of expansion seems to have been a socialistic state” Compare for example an interesting observation on Classical Civilization “this was a culture of only a small minority of city dwellers except perhaps briefly in Athens where most people shared these concepts for 150 years In other cities generally and always in rural areas the masses lived in a morass of ignorance and superstition difficult for us to imagine”3 As noted above uigley talks only about the Northwest uadrant A further demonstration of uigley’s model and tools to say Asian civilizations would be instructive This would be uite an undertaking and would reuire an extensive knowledge of ancient Asian civilizations4 uigley paints entry into the Age of Conflict as generally marked by “a period of gambling use of narcotics or intoxicants obsession with sex freuently as perversion increasing crime growing numbers of neurotics and psychotics growing obsession with death and with the Hereafter As this book was written in 1961 uigley could not envision the eventual outcome of the Cold War at a time when he viewed former Soviet Union as still to be on an upward trajectory It would be interesting to see how he would assess our current situation almost 60 years down the road5 The oscillation between democracy and authoritarianism seems dependent on the availability of weapons to the masses Historical periods where men could not affordably arm themselves tended toward authoritarianism while when weapons became cheaper and easier for ordinary men to obtain civilizations became democraticThis was a terrific book and I plan to follow it up with uigley’s famous work “Tragedy Hope” Very highly recommended for all students of general history and civilization