Apart from not being able to use the “fork and knife,” I have lots of stories of my past experiences, finding myself in situations most people would consider “not civilized.”
Whenever we talk of civilization, we all think of technology, development, and trends. The term civilization has been made to dehumanize and embarrass those who haven’t acquainted themselves with trends in technology or fashion or any other trend that we are already familiar with.
Civilization has been used to make many people uncomfortable and demoralized in certain settings where they are required to act civilized. We have not clearly understood the meaning of civilization, that it entails much more than familiarity with trends.
When we talk about civilization, especially of a nation, most people quantify this unit according to the proper buildings, efficient transport systems, internet connectivity, proper education systems, or probably efficient government services. While all these can be used to measure the level of development or civilization of a nation or a society, there is a lot more that is entailed in the term civilization that could be much more important than just the seen things. This is the unseen part of civilization or what I would call virtual civilization or civilization of the mind.
There is no crucial civilization of society than that society with individuals with morally developed minds. Some of the social problems we face today are due to what we think is civilization, yet this has hindered development directly or indirectly. Civilization has given birth to lots of ills that are experienced in society today.
Civilization has been used as an excuse for young people to be disrespectful in society, even standing in the way of the elders or even talking back to elderly people, including their parents, and what do we do? Post the videos of kids insulting their parents on social media and give the kids a standing ovation. Such children might grow up not respecting authorities in the future and might end up in jail in the future.
Civilization has made us accept all kinds of music, even those that promote sexual violence, or even those that use vulgar language and display adult contents that children should not be exposed to. Civilization has made us to blindly adopt new fashions and new beauty products, even those that are incredibly harmful to our health just because we must follow trends.
Civilization has promoted cyberbullying, brought about the social disparity, and has even promoted violence. It has been used to control and program minds to think and reason in a certain way, also if it’s morally harmful.
Civilization is not all about trends or technology. Civilization is about discipline, change of attitude, morality, and behavior change. It means adopting positive trends and technology without abandoning ethical aspects of one’s culture. Civilization is not measured by the number of tall buildings a nation has or the number of cars an individual owns or even the level of education of an individual. It’s not seen in the trendy clothes has or the stylish gadgets one can afford or the latest equipment that one can already use.
Civilization, like charity, begins at home, it’s the ability to train your kids to be respectful even to their elderly, it’s about proper waste management in your own home to be able to manage waste well even in public. It’s about being ready to obey the traffic rules even without the police. It’s about doing the right thing even when nobody is watching. It’s about treating everyone as human regardless of age, gender, social status, tribe, or race.
A civilized nation, therefore, is measured by their attitude towards matters of significant concerns like corruption, discipline, integrity, being able to uphold positive aspects of their culture, exercising human rights adequately. It’s about being able to make your decisions independent of the negative influence that supposedly surrounds you. It’s about being responsible for one’s own mistakes. Its bout being innovative and cooperating with the local authorities in matters like peacemaking, waste management, and road safety.
Lack of civilization of the mind is the main reason why a society might still have problems with waste management, corruption, inequality, or even experience security issues. It’s the reason why we still have a wide social class gap, it’s the reason why the morals of children are increasingly declining, it’s the reason why ethnicity and racism, is still rampant. This is because the minds have not been transformed to consider such issues as of important value.
The civilization of the mind is the most important aspect of development, and for a nation to claim development, civilization must be reflected in the behavior of its citizens. There is no possible way that we could build a nation without mindset change. This is the first step towards achieving civilization.