Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

The Limits of Civilization

Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

The Limits of Civilization

Article excerpt

Andrew Targowski, The Limits of Civilization Nova Science, 2015

Can there be a larger problem confronting mankind than the fact that we are approaching the limits, the end, of our civilization? This is the looming disaster examined in depth by one of the world's leading civilizationists, Prof. Andrew Targowski, in his new book, The Limits of Civilization.

The book begins with Targowski's probe of the near and distant future. Of course, life on Earth is ultimately doomed with the expiration of our sun; but much sooner, in about 3,000 years, or less, we will have exhausted all resources necessary for our survival. The present simultaneous crises of overpopulation, depletion of resources, and deteriorating ecology are not likely to be reversed. We face this "Triangle of Civilizational Death" now, and it can only be confronted by the emergence of a wise universal civilization, one which substitutes more intelligent economic and social systems for those currently leading us to the pit.

Dr. Targowski divides his examination into three parts: "Introduction to Civilization," "Civilization in Crisis," and "The End of Civilization?"

Civilization began about 6,000 years ago and has been manifested in 26 separate, discrete examples, of which nine currently exist: Western, Eastern, Chinese, Japanese, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, African, and Global. These civilizations shape the way we view the world, and they also interact with each other. Moreover, each civilization gradually transforms into something else.

The author provides an excellent review of the leading thinkers about civilizations. He explains the theories of the Russian Danilevsky; the German Spengler; the English Toynbee; the Polish Koneczny; the Russo-American Sorokin; two earlier Americans, Kroeber and Kluckhohn; the French Braudel; the American Coulborn; three recent Americans, Quigley, Melko, and Wilkinson; and himself.

We have arrived at what Dr. Targowski labels a Twenty-First Century Global Civilization. Unfortunately, we have reached, simultaneously, a second Great Crisis of Civilization, the first having been the fall of the Roman Empire. This one arrives in stealth - it is relatively unnoticed. Comprising this new great crisis are subsidiary crises in ideas/morality, politics, religion, ecology, and technology, plus twelve others.

The first great crisis was resolved when the Renaissance arose. Today, Dr. Targowski fears, we have to await a second Renaissance. Will it come, and in time? The rapacious workings of global business - a religion in itself - have already destroyed much of the world. What is needed is wisdom to save the planet and its people. Will we generate the necessary wisdom?

Perhaps we can begin to answer that by looking at how well we have met subsidiary problems - for example, the population explosion. The United Nations set out Millennium Development Goals to be reached this year: eliminating extreme poverty; securing basic education; promoting gender equality and reinforcing the position of women; reducing infant mortality; improving mother health; fighting disease such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and others; securing environmental indestructibility; and developing global partnership for development (see page 62). …

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