Thursday, March 22, 2012

Introduction to Humanities Unit 1

  • What forces contributed to the cultural makeup of early civilizations?What social issues arose because of this cultural makeup?What were the main cultural influences on early civilizations?Do you believe that revisionist history is a good thing or a bad thing? Explain your response.


There are many forces that contributed to the cultural makeup of early civilizations; some forces influenced cultures more than others while others influenced cultures on only a small scale. For instance, ancient Egyptians profoundly believed in an afterlife, and that belief therefore became a vast part in their culture, while in Mesopotamia, their belief in the afterlife was ‘dismal’ and therefore only slightly contributed to Mesopotamian culture. (Introduction to Humanities, n.d.). Another force that contributed to the cultures of early civilizations would be agriculture and the development/change of agriculture, beliefs (religious/spiritual), geography and demographics of the area, etc. (Sayre, 2010). These forces contributed because the culture of a group of people can be described as a manifestation that is found in the various laws, customs, beliefs, ritual behavior, and artistic production. (Sayre, 2010).
            Regarding the forces that contributed to the cultural makeup of early civilizations, a number of social issues arose because of this. This includes war, conquest, invasions, etc.; a civilization’s spiritual and religious beliefs, also the politics of a civilization, could result in social issues such as those, along with many other forces/factors as well. (Social Life, n.d.). Social issues in early civilizations also include the economic problems that threatened these civilizations as well. (Brown, 2006). Ethnocentrism was, in all probability, present as well because of the development of social class; ethnocentrism can encompass small groups of individuals within a society and between societies and civilizations as well. More specifically, various groups throughout Iraqi history, even as far back as Mesopotamian times, have formed autonomous/self-contained social ‘units’. (Chapin, 1988).
            Cultural influences can also be closely related to the forces that contributed to the cultural makeup of early civilization. For instance, art, spiritual/religious beliefs, ritual behavior, etc., are considered some of the main cultural influences on early civilizations; these influences are common to the group/civilization and are passed down from generation to generation. (Sayre, 2010). Cultures are so important to a civilization, and were important to early civilizations, because cultures are considered the building blocks of civilizations. (Classical World Civilizations, n.d.).
            Historical revisionism, simply put, is the philosophy that promotes the practice of revisiting history in order to (or attempt to) alter or modify the view of history that has already been accepted as ‘truth’, at least on some level. (Lupo, 2010). Revisionist history, like all things in my opinion, has both advantages and disadvantages. For instance, historical revisionism could possibly give another ‘view’ of a past history, but it could lead to serious miscalculations and inaccuracies. For instance, many people have, and still do perhaps, revisit the history of the Holocaust and attempt to allege that the events that took place are imprecise, which is arguably, incorrect and sometimes even unprincipled as well. Overall, in conclusion, historical revisionism is neither a good thing nor a bad thing in itself, but how it is used and applied.

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