I am working on what it means to be civilised.

Ant colonies are highly organised.  Ants have sophisticated cooperation much like a human city, with building and carrying away garbage, caring for their young in nurseries, withbringing in food, and soldier ants give their lives for the greater good of the colony. There are scouts are on the watchout for danger and go far and wide to find new territories to develop, and so on. Are ants civilised?

Or  is civilisation only meaningful when applied to humans? Are we civilised because we are able to describe ourselves as such? Does the creation of great music, literature, art works and architectural monuments elevate us to be the only living things capable and deserving of being civilised? Or are we civilised because of spiritual values that in our own judgment elevate us above the beasts?

Were we always civilised, and if not, at what point did we become civilised? When we used stone tools?  Invented the written word? Wrote poetry? Believed in an after-life? Or did civilisation become inevitable at some point as our DNA changed?

Why is civilisation so fragile? We see great civilisations rise then fall. Is this inevitable? Will our current world civilisations be different? Are we civilised as long as our basic survival needs are met? Do these needs sometimes drive us to destroy, in the most uncivilised way, the civilisations we have created?

Write to me, add to this new book On Civilisation.

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