In this essay, various aspects of viewing the civilization are discussed in detail. The question is what Western civilization is. Is Western civilization special or even unique in world History? Does it contain recognizable noteworthy characteristics? Is Western culture withering away? How it has changed over time? Civilization can be defined as an advanced state of a society possessing historical and cultural unity. This essay deals with the identification of specific societies, because of their distinctive achievements. Because of these achievements, historians have regarded them as separate civilizations. Historical perspective used in viewing a civilization is a significant unit of relatively recent origin. Before this, a country was studied in viewing a civilization. Throughout middle Ages, European historians viewed the civilization in religious perspective. They regarded the Christian revelation as the most momentous event in history. They viewed all history as either the prelude to or aftermath of that event. The early historians did not study deeply the other cultures except the religious field. In early 16th Century, the national viewpoint arose. It based largely on political philosophy of Machiavelli. He said that the proper object of historical study was state. Historians became interested in other cultures during the Age of Enlightenment. They developed a secular viewpoint in 18th century. The French philosopher Voltaire used principles of rational criticism in viewing beyond the provincialism of earlier historical thinking. However, his attempts of universal history suffered from his own biases. In early 19th Century, Romantic Movement arose and philosophers and historians criticized on the 18th Century idea that people were the same everywhere at all times. The German philosophers Johann Von Herder and George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel emphasized that there were profound differences in the minds and works of humans in different cultures. According to modern historians of civilizations, it is impossible to write fully understandable history of any nation without taking in consideration the types of culture to which it belongs. They state that many distinctive characteristics are the base of life of a nation or state. The country consists of a larger social entity, and this entity is cultural rather political. In modern times, the existing civilizations have effects more and more on one another that no one civilization is achieving a separate destiny anymore and all may be considered participants in a common world civilization. Some historians see striking uniformities in the histories of civilizations. The German philosopher Oswald Spengler described civilizations as living organisms, each of which passed through identical stages at fixed periods. The British historian Arnold Toynbee is not so rigid determinist as Spengler is and points out a uniform pattern in the history of civilizations. According to Toynbee, a civilization may prolong its life indefinitely by successful responses to the various internal and external challenges. Many historians are skeptical of philosophies of history derived from an alleged pattern of the past. They are reluctant to base predictions about the future on such theories. Many historians studied the civilizations on personal biases. In ancient times, Herodotus studied many cultures but found his own Western Greek culture superior to all others. Western Civilization embraces North and South America and Europe excluding Russia and the British Self-governing dominions. In this civilization, the


United States is leading the all other countries. All the characteristics that distinguish the West from the East are most marked and developed in America. We are accustomed to take progress for granted; to assume without hesitation that the changes, which have happened during the last hundred years, were for the better, and that further changes for the better are sure to follow indefinitely. The great wars have made a blow to this concept and men have begun to look back the time before 1914 as a golden age. However, the countries like China have made much progress without changing its culture. It is as the same as a hundred and fifty years before. The civilization of China is based on the teachings of Confucius. Like the Greeks and Romans, he did not think of human society as naturally progressive. He believed that in old ages, rulers had been wise, and the people had been happy to a degree, which the degenerate present could admire but hardly achieve. Confucius aimed to creating a stable society, maintaining a certain level of excellence, but he did not strive after new successes. His personality has been stamped on Chinese Civilization from his day to our own. The Confucian system survived, bringing with it art and literature and civilized ways of life. It is only in our own day, through contact with the West and the westernized Japanese that this system has begun to break.

Written and Composed By: Prof. A. R. Somroo M.A. English, M.A. Education Cell: 03339971417

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