Progress In Western Civ. Essay, Research Paper
It is a common misconception, in our modern day society, that more money, intelligence, power and fame are signs of success, or progress. This is not a coincidence, but a very old concept dating back to the rise of civilization. The Babylonians believed this notion, as did some other more successful empires such as the Greek and Roman. It is true, that they were able to acquire more money, land, a larger army, etc It was in there pursuit of the former that they disregarded the essence of human existence, the sanctity of human life. How can any economic, intellectual, or technological advances be seen as progress, when their societies didn t even strive for an equality of peoples? Western civilization has done nothing but brought forth persecution from one group to another. The essence that civilization was founded, equality, only lasted for a short time before domination began to shape our western culture.
It could be said that perhaps one of the earliest dominations was that of the male being over the female. This could most clearly be attributed to the new perception of a male God. As it was seen, the early Mesopotamians embodied a female god, and it wasn t a coincident that females were considered equal, if not superior to their counterparts. It was believed that the world was self-sustained like a womb. It would follow that the female spirit was immortal because a female could bleed for seven days a month and still live. It wasn t until the Neolithic era, which brought more hierarchy and male domination. This was largely due to the focus of more male gods. This set the stage for all the western civilizations and religions to follow. It can also be noted that during this time that male gods came into effect, the crimes followed. The constant wars with their burning and sacking of cities, left many Sumerians in deep despair (8).
The Israelites were subject to oppressive persecution as early as 1000 b.c. when the Babylonians invaded Israel. The Babylonians later destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, and banished all the priests, or twelve tribes, across the land of Israel. The Temple was the single most important physical part of their religion, as it was the place where they would give sacrifices to God. The Babylonians explicit hatred towards the Israelites justified the killings of thousands of people and the banishment of the twelve leaders later became know as the twelve tribes of Israel so that the Israelites would be unable to convene, and it was their hope that this monolithic religion would be lost. To a large extent the Babylonians did succeed as only one tribe, or Judah, survived.
Alexander the Great thought that the world would be more utopic under his rule. He believed that people should be able to celebrate their differences in race, religion, etc Nonetheless he used force to conquer his own people and armies as well as the other peoples that he conquered. Whether one can look at Alexander the Great as, an idealistic visionary or a ruthless Machiavellian (95), he did persecute many people under his regime.
War, fighting, bloodshed but more importantly oppression have all marred the soul of our society. Religious crusaders proclaiming their deity as finite, imposing their ideology on anyone who shall get in the way by exiles, murder, or any other means necessary. Western history is grim and unforgiving, as it gives no regard to the preciousness of the human life. Western Civilization has evolved out of greed, religious superiority, and all that Plato would call the Darkness or evil. Western Civilization did not progress, but shaped, for the worse, the world today.